Probation for man who killed federal agent

Christopher Anderson of Brandon gets probation for the 2004 traffic accident that killed a Secret Service agent.

Published January 18, 2006

TAMPA - A Brandon man who ran a red light and killed a Secret Service agent a little over a year ago in downtown Tampa was sentenced to 10 years probation Wednesday.

Christopher Lee Anderson, 22, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors. The deal comes 14 months after Anderson sped off the Crosstown Expressway and crashed into Secret Service agent Phillip Lebid's car.

The accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2004. Anderson was talking to his mother on his cell phone as he exited the off-ramp at Morgan and Brorein streets and didn't notice that the light had just changed, investigators said. Anderson's Ford Mustang rammed into the federal agent's unmarked car.

A tour bus headed south on Morgan had stopped for a red light at the intersection. Lebid was headed north in his dark blue Mercury Grand Marquis and also had stopped for the light.

The light turned green, and as the two vehicles drove through the intersection, Anderson sped west off the ramp from the Crosstown, ran the red light and smashed into the passenger's side of Lebid's Marquis, police said.

The Marquis then slammed into the bus, and the driver's side of the Marquis collapsed into the front of the bus.

Lebid, 30, who sustained fatal head injuries in the accident, died instantly, police said.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe sentenced Anderson late Wednesday morning as Lebid's family and about a dozen Secret Service agents silently stood by.

"What a horrible lesson you've had to learn in the damage that you've caused not only to your own family but to the family and colleagues of the victims," Tharpe said.

Lebid's family declined to comment following the hearing.

Lebid's former supervisor, Special Agent in Charge John Joyce, remembered the junior agent's enthusiasm and energy. He said was satisfied that Anderson had gotten what he deserved.

"I think justice has been done. I hope (Anderson) understands that what he has done has impacted a lot of lives," Joyce said.

The judge also revoked Anderson's driver's license for three years and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service.

- Candace Rondeaux can be reached at 813 226-3337 or rondeaux@sptimes.com