One of five drivers in fatal hit-run stops for victim

By CASEY CORA, Times Staff Writer
Published August 9, 2007

TAMPA - Five vehicles struck a pedestrian as he tried to cross Interstate 4 during a storm late Tuesday.

Only one driver stopped.

Now, the Florida Highway Patrol is searching for answers in a hit-and-run that left a 49-year-old Brandon man dead.

The accident happened about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday on I-4 less than 1,000 feet west of the Interstate 75 junction.

FHP investigators said the man had reached the interstate's center lane when an unknown vehicle struck him, knocking him back into the inside lane, where he was clipped by the mirror of 2004 Ford Taurus.

That sent him back into the center lane, where another vehicle, described only as dark in color, hit him. After that, two more vehicles, both traveling in the center lane, ran over the man, said an FHP news release.

Alexander Rascionato, 33, of Tampa had been traveling west along the inside lane in his Ford Taurus. He was the second driver to strike the man, and the only one to stop, said Highway Patrol spokesman Larry Coggins.

As Rascionato stopped to call 911, the other four drivers kept going west.

Rascionato did not return calls Wednesday, but his Taurus sat in his driveway, its right mirror dangling from an electrical cord.

The only other witnesses were a couple tending their truck broken down nearby. FHP did not release their names.

Authorities were having trouble locating family members of the victim, and had not made public his identity as of late Wednesday.

FHP seeks help

Anyone traveling west on Interstate 4 around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, less than a mile west of Interstate 75, can call Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Cardwell at (813) 632-6859, ext. 356.

Hit-and-run cases in 2006

Statewide: 19,753

Hernando: 185

Hillsborough: 1,540

Pasco: 417

Pinellas: 1,466

Source: Florida Uniform Traffic Citation Statistics