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Car rolls down driveway, kills neighbor

He and the car's owner were trying to stop the BMW's slide when he lost his footing and fell.

By AARON SHAROCKMAN
Published July 22, 2007


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ST. PETERSBURG - A local defense contractor died Friday night in a bizarre accident in which he was run over by an unoccupied car.

Keith David Dabrowski, 44, was walking his dog around his waterfront St. Petersburg neighborhood when he was struck by his next-door neighbor's empty BMW, according to St. Petersburg police.

Dabrowski, a defense engineer for Raytheon, died across the street from his home on 58th Avenue S, police said.

"It's so much of a waste," his father, retired Air Force Col. Chuck Dabrowski, said Saturday. "He was the perfect son."

Here's what police say happened:

Dabrowski's neighbor, St. Petersburg lawyer Richard McCrory, pulled into his garage shortly after 9 p.m. Friday but failed to put the car in park before he got out.

Dabrowski, who had been out with his dog, walked up McCrory's driveway to chat.

After several minutes, Dabrowski noticed the car was starting to roll back toward the street. The two men tried to stop the car, but failed.

McCrory, 62, was able to get out of the way. Dabrowski was not.

Police said the car pushed him down the steep driveway and onto the narrow residential street. As the BMW crossed 58th Avenue South, Dabrowski lost his footing and fell.

He became pinned under the car, which came to rest across the street in a overgrown grass lot.

The two men have been next-door neighbors for more than two years, according to Pinellas County property records.

Police said Saturday they were still investigating the accident.

No one came to the McCrory's door Saturday. A plastic container with two cupcakes was sitting on the front stoop. A card sat on top.

Dabrowski, a former captain in the Air Force, celebrated his first wedding anniversary with his wife, Lori, earlier this month.

Before going to work for Raytheon, Dabrowski spent time as an engineer for Navy jet fighters, his father said. He was a tournament-level tennis player who graduated from the University of Florida.

"He did everything right," his father said. "Now, it's all for nothing."

Aaron Sharockman can be reached at asharockman@sptimes.com or 727 892-2273.

[Last modified July 21, 2007, 20:53:42]


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