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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 20, 2001


    Man commits suicide by jumping from bridge

    A man parked his car on the Sunshine Skyway bridge and jumped to his death Saturday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

    He has not been identified, said Lt. Bruce Doras. He was wearing orange shorts and no shirt.

    A boater pulled the body from the center of the channel after the suicide was reported at 7:14 p.m.

    But the man could not be revived by paramedics, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Diver dies 10 miles off Anna Maria Island

    A 42-year-old diver died Saturday after his companions pulled him from the gulf without a pulse, said a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

    Fred Young had been diving in 40 feet of water from his boat about 10 nautical miles off Anna Maria Island, Coast Guard Petty Officer Harry Craft said. Two people aboard Young's 30-foot boat saw him surface before he "panicked" and slipped under the water, Craft said.

    Young's companions jumped in and found him about 8 feet down. They brought him up, began resuscitation and called for help.

    A Coast Guard helicopter picked Young up and took him to Tampa General Hospital. Craft said rescuers got Young's heartbeat started en route to the hospital, but then it stopped again. Craft said he did not know where Young was from.

    Six injured in Ulmerton Road accident

    CLEARWATER -- Six people, including three children, were injured in a car accident Friday evening at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and 130th Avenue N.

    According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Latasha M. Teahearett, 21, of 12391 Jefferson Circle in Largo, was traveling east on 130th Avenue when she stopped at the Ulmerton Road intersection. The other car, driven by Roger L. Jurey, 21, of 2567 Oak Trail N in Clearwater, was traveling south when Teahearett pulled out in front of him, officials said.

    Teahearett suffered minor injuries and was treated at Bayfront Medical Center.

    Two of her passengers, Davion J. Teahearett, 5, and Lakerria J. Gilbert, 3, suffered serious injuries and were treated at St. Joseph's Hospital. A third passenger, Ireoina M. Lightsey, 7 months, suffered minor injuries and was treated at Bayfront Medical Center.

    Jurey and his passenger, April Johnson, 21, same address as Jurey, both were treated for minor injuries at Bayfront Medical Center.

    The Florida Highway Patrol still is investigating the accident.

    Student has meningitis

    TAMPA -- A fourth-grader at Afalia Elementary School has been diagnosed with meningitis, but test results are pending on whether it is viral or the more serious bacterial type.

    The 10-year-old was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital on Friday morning after he woke up with a high fever and serious headache, said Hillsborough district spokesman Mark Hart. He was listed in fair condition Saturday.

    The case marked the second involving a student at Alafia in several weeks. On May 9, a 6-year-old girl was diagnosed with a form of bacterial meningitis, a serious infection of the brain lining and spiral cord.

    Officials identify toddler

    TAMPA -- Sheriff's officials identified a toddler who died Friday as Austin Knight.

    Paramedics were called to a home on Welcome Road in Lithia about 3:20 p.m.

    Sheriff's officials said Saturday the cause of death is under investigation. An autopsy was being conducted. They would not release the names of the parents or details about what happened.

    League of Women Voters touts election reforms

    TAMPA -- The League of Women Voters in Florida has been complaining about the state's old-fashioned election system for 20 years.

    They made some improvements along the way, but it took a botched presidential election for lawmakers to get serious about it.

    Today, members say their hard work paid off. The state Legislature's election reform bill features many of the changes they have been pushing for years, including a uniform ballot system and more voter education.

    More than 100 delegates from leagues across Florida gathered in Tampa this weekend for the group's biennial convention to elect new officers, push their platform and celebrate their success. Many praised state lawmakers for approving a meaty election reform package but said it will take years of hard work to see the desired results.

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