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Accidents an hour apart leave 2 dead

A good Samaritan and a lone speeder die in the late-night crashes.

By JACKIE RIPLEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 8, 2001


TAMPA -- Two people died in separate accidents in northwest Hillsborough County within an hour of each other late Tuesday, and a Tampa man faces charges in connection with one of those fatalities.

A good Samaritan was killed after coming to the aid of a stranded motorist on Waters Avenue just before midnight, and a St. Petersburg man died when his car spun out of control on Sheldon Road just before 11 p.m.

Eugene Semonelle, of 2570 33rd Ave. N in St. Petersburg, was traveling south on Sheldon when he lost control of his 1999 Chevrolet Camaro south of Crown Boulevard at 10:55 p.m., said Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

The 58-year-old was going about 60 mph when his car slid sideways across Sheldon and hit a Tampa Electric utility pole on the drivers' side, Carter said. Semonelle, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.

Officials were unable to say what caused Semonelle to lose control of his car.

Walter Santiago, 42, of 3539 Del Lago Circle, apartment 249, also died in a traffic accident Tuesday night. Hillsborough sheriff's officials say he was struck by a car driven by Ryan Douglas Hoge, 22, of 4255 W Humphrey St. Santiago had gone to the aid of Olga Romero, 56, whose car had broken down in the center eastbound lane of Waters near Manhattan Avenue at 11:50 p.m., Carter said.

"They were standing in front of Romero's vehicle when another vehicle, a 1995 Honda, driven by Hoge, going east on Waters, ran into the rear of Romero's car, hitting Santiago and Romero," Carter said.

Romero, who lives at 13104 Leisurewood Place, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where she was listed in fair condition Wednesday. The owner of the Honda, Richard Krout, 30, of Marco Island, who was a passenger with Hoge, told deputies that Hoge and another passenger, Kristy Fuerst, 24, ran away on foot after the accident, Carter said.

Deputies were notified Wednesday morning that Hoge and Fuerst, who also lives at 4255 W Humphrey St., were at University Community Hospital seeking medical treatment for their injuries.

Hoge had an outstanding warrant for violation of probation stemming from a 1999 conviction of burglary of a structure and dealing in stolen property. Hoge was treated then arrested Wednesday and charged with hit-and-run, leaving the scene of an accident with death, and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, Carter said.

He was held in the Hillsborough County Jail on Wednesday without bail.

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