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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff and wire reports

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 23, 2001


    Golfer hospitalized after snake bite

    TAMPA -- A man playing golf in one of New Tampa's newest subdivisions was bitten by a rattlesnake when he went to retrieve his golf ball.

    The 29-year-old man was playing at Heritage Isles' golf course Sunday at 10630 Plantation Bay Drive. The neighborhood is so new most maps don't show it. Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade said the man was on the 16th hole about 5 p.m. and hit his ball into the rough. When he bent down to get it, he told paramedics he felt the snake bite him twice. Other witnesses said the snake was a 4-foot-long rattlesnake, but they were not able to catch it.

    The man was flown by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, where he was in serious condition Sunday night.

    Driver dies in accident on bridge

    TAMPA -- The driver of a car speeding on the Gandy Bridge died in an accident early Sunday.

    Tampa police released few details about the crash, which happened just before 2 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of the bridge. The driver lost control changing lanes, causing the car to slide sideways and hit the concrete barrier, police said.

    The impact with the barrier ejected the driver from the car. Then the car began spinning and struck him.

    Police did not release the victim's name Sunday night, pending notification of his family.

    Two rescued after boat capsizes

    Two men were rescued early Sunday after the boat they were on capsized in Tampa Bay a half-mile from the Howard Frankland Bridge.

    A rescue crew based at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport rescued the two, who were hanging onto debris, at 1:17 a.m. and brought them to shore, said Thomas Jewsbury, the airport's director of operations.

    They were in stable condition when they were brought to shore, according to Pinellas County rescue officials.

    Man killed after ejection from sport utility vehicle

    TAMPA -- A 28-year-old Tampa man died early Sunday after he was ejected from his sport utility vehicle on Interstate 75 a mile north of Fletcher Avenue, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

    Rudy Vargas of 10219 Altavista Ave. was driving in the northbound lane about 3:45 a.m. when he veered sharply to the left and struck trees in the median.

    Vargas, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.

    Motorcyle accident kills police official's daughter

    The daughter of St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Debbie Prine was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday in Fayetteville, N.C.

    Lori R. Small, 22, was an E-4 in the U.S. Army and assigned to military intelligence at the Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina. She and a friend, Tommy Phillips, were killed when their motorcycle hit a curb as they exited the interstate. Both were wearing helmets.

    Small graduated from Palmetto High School in Manatee County. She is survived by her father, Wayne Small; her mother, Prine; her stepfather, St. Petersburg police Lt. Mike Prine; and a sister, Melissa Everhart.

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