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70-year-old charged with DUI-manslaughter in crash

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 22, 2000

TAMPA -- A 70-year-old driver was charged with DUI-manslaughter Sunday after a pedestrian was hit and killed early Sunday morning in downtown Tampa, police said.

Thurman Butler, 45, of 2911 17th St., was pushing his bicycle along W Palm Avenue when he was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Morgan Street at 4:19 a.m. Sunday. He died at the scene.

Tampa Police charged Rafael Ferrer of 2416 Corrine St. with DUI-manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death. Police said he was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.255 percent, more than three times the 0.08 threshold at which the state presumes impairment.

Ferrer, who was not injured in the crash, was released from the Orient Road jail Sunday afternoon after posting $15,000 bail.

Firefighters contain blaze in Gateway area west of I-275

ST. PETERSBURG -- A brush fire scorched about 10 acres in the Gateway area Sunday and spewed a thick column of smoke.

Firefighters and the state Division of Forestry took about an hour to control the blaze, which was between 118th Avenue N and Gandy Boulevard on the west side of Interestate 275, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

About 10 fire-rescue units responded to the fire, which was reported at 4:29 p.m. A Division of Forestry tractor plowed fire breaks to help contain the blaze.

The cause was under investigation.

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