As one man mourns, another is arrested

Adam Mervine lost his wife in a car accident. Her friend was charged Monday with causing it.

Published April 3, 2007

TAMPA - Minutes before his latest grief counseling session, Adam Mervine sat in his sport utility vehicle and stared the remnants of his married life.

Two handwritten notes attached to his dashboard reminded him of the love he lost.

"I love you, sexy baby, I miss you so much, love you," read one. "Put your buckle on, sweetie, I love you so much," read the other.

He wished his wife would have followed her own advice.

On Monday morning, Tampa police arrested Anthony V. Urso, 22, accusing the Valrico man of causing the crash that killed his passenger, Amberle Mervine, 27.

Urso met Mervine when he delivered water to her office at the Department of Juvenile Justice, her husband said.

On Nov. 17, both went to Peabody's Billiards & Games with friends.

Urso wanted to show her his two-door BMW. He and Mervine took a short drive to see it, her husband said. As Urso headed west on Amberly Drive near the University of South Florida, he lost control and slid sideways into a tree near Live Oaks Boulevard, police say.

Mervine, who was not wearing a seat belt, suffered head injuries and died at the scene, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis. Urso was flown to the hospital.

The investigation showed that Urso had a blood alcohol level of 0.04, below the level at which the state presumes a driver drunk. But investigators say he was speeding, driving between 68 and 73 mph in a 35 mph zone.

On March 26, prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest. He was released Monday from the Hillsborough County jail after posting $7,500 bail, jail records show. He listed his address as 2702 Queen Alberta Drive in Valrico. He listed no employer but said he was disabled.

This is Urso's third arrest, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In 2006, he was accused of resisting an officer and, on a separate occasion, of disorderly intoxication. It was unclear from records how either case was resolved.

The night of the crash, Mervine's husband, now 32, a mortgage loan officer, worked late. The couple planned to spend the rest of the evening cuddling on the couch, watching movies.

Instead, a detective arrived at the home to tell Adam Mervine the terrible news.

He and his wife had met 20 years earlier. They grew up together and dated for seven years. They had married more than a year before the crash at a farm outside Dade City. They honeymooned in the Bahamas.

"It was a fantasy, I mean, it was anything you could dream of your wedding being," he said.

They were ready for one child, maybe two. Not long before she died, she stopped using birth control and began taking pre-natal vitamins, he said.

Together, they bought land to build their dream home, a country-style house with a wrap-around porch in Wesley Chapel.

Now, Mervine just tries to survive each day alone.

"Being without her is horrible," he said. "All I ever wanted to be in my whole life was married - married and being at home with my wife. At our age, you can imagine making plans for 60 years with each other."

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 813 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.