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Biker leaves behind 2 hurt in accidents

He kept going after sideswiping a vehicle, dumping a rider and hitting a boy, police say. He's in jail.

Published May 14, 2006

SEMINOLE - A 40-year-old motorcyclist was arrested Friday night after he fled from accidents that sent his female passenger and an 8-year-old boy to the hospital, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

Phillip Eugene Troise of Seminole drove his 2002 Suzuki sport motorcycle between two rows of vehicles at a red light near Bay Pines Boulevard and 100th Way, the Sheriff's Office said. He sideswiped a Dodge Durango around 7 p.m., but didn't stop. Instead, he sped up to 80 mph and popped a wheelie.

But Troise's stunt was too much for his passenger, authorities said. Virginia Chewning, 43, fell off the bike onto the pavement. The Largo woman wasn't wearing a helmet. She was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with serious, though not life-threatening, injuries.

Witnesses told investigators Troise stopped about 100 yards east of the crash scene and looked back. Then he drove away into a neighborhood north of Bay Pines Boulevard.

Troise then struck an 8-year-old boy playing on a nonmotorized scooter in the 5000 block of 97th Way N, officials said. After hitting Matthew Minafo, the Sheriff's Office said, Troise didn't bother to check on the injured boy.

Matthew was treated and released at St. Petersburg General Hospital.

While deputies investigated the first accident, they closed the eastbound lanes of Bay Pines Boulevard until 10 p.m. Friday. They began looking for Troise, and arrested him at a friend's home in St. Petersburg around 10:45.

Troise faces charges that include two counts of leaving the scene of a traffic crash involving injury. He told deputies he panicked after his passenger fell off the motorcycle, the Sheriff's Office said. He was held at the Pinellas County Jail Saturday evening in lieu of $30,500 bail.

[Last modified May 14, 2006, 00:50:17]

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