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By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2000


Committee designates $2.1-million for tie-downs

A statewide committee set aside $2.1-million for Florida's tie-down program Wednesday, just two weeks after officials said they were unsure the initiative to secure mobile homes would continue.

The tie-down issue has gained attention with the onset of hurricane season. The straps, designed to prevent mobile homes from buckling under hurricane-force winds, can be crucial for safety. But at a cost of $300 to $1,500, they remain unaffordable for many mobile home owners.

Interstate 75 accident kills Dade City man

TAMPA -- A Dade City man died Tuesday night after his pickup truck crashed into the embankment of Interstate 75 just north of Fowler Avenue.

Florida Highway Patrol Trooper David Land identified the victim as Steven T. Osky, 51, of 18814 Hamilton Road, Dade City.

According to Land's report, Osky's 1997 Dodge truck veered to the left as Osky traveled north on I-75 about 10 p.m. The truck climbed up the guard rail onto the retainer wall, skidded about 200 feet along the top of the retainer wall and then fell off and crashed into the embankment at Fowler Avenue. Osky was thrown from the truck and landed in the median.

It isn't known what caused Osky's truck to veer off the road.

Film crew might disrupt St. Petersburg traffic

ST. PETERSBURG -- A television crew filming a commercial for Bud Light beer is likely to disrupt traffic at a downtown intersection today between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Parking will be blocked off in the area of Central Avenue and Sixth Street, city parking manager Phil Oropesa said Wednesday. In addition, although traffic will be allowed to flow, it will be stopped from time to time, "if they need to move a camera or something." He advised motorists to select alternate routes.

Authorities have questions after boy hit on rural road

A mysterious accident has left a 15-year-old St. Petersburg boy in the hospital and investigators searching for answers.

Hillsborough County sheriff's investigators say they know who ran over Derrick Deagin shortly before 4 a.m. Monday.

But they are trying to find out why Deagin was on Boy Scout Road in a rural area of northwest Hillsborough County at that hour.

Deagin, who lives in Lakeside Village Apartments at 501 116th Ave. N, was severely injured in the accident and was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. His family has requested that authorities release no information about his condition.

Detectives say Amanda Kimberly Peters, 17, of Odessa hit Deagin as she was driving home but later said she didn't realize what had happened.

When she got home, according to the Sheriff's Office, she called authorities to report that she had seen something on the shoulder of Boy Scout Road, and deputies responded to check it out.

Amanda, who will be a senior at Walter L. Sickles High School in Hillsborough County next year, is not talking about the accident or what she saw on the side of the road, said her father, Jay Peters. .

Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said Wednesday that the accident remains under investigation.

Two bicyclists injured in separate accidents

TAMPA -- A Tampa man and a 6-year-old boy suffered head injuries in separate bicycle accidents this week.

George J. Meguiar, 50, rode his bicycle through a red light Wednesday morning and was struck by a car, police said.

Police said Meguiar, of 6208 Sanders Drive, was riding north on Bayshore Boulevard and turned left at Howard against the light at 6:48 a.m. Meguiar rode into southbound traffic, which had the green light, police said. He was listed in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. The driver of the car, a 1997 Mercedes, could not brake in time, police said. No charges were filed.

Tuesday night, Rashad Roach was riding his bicycle at 10:20 when he ignored a stop sign at N 16th Street and E 21st Avenue, eight blocks from his house, police said.

Rashad's bicycle pulled in front of a Mallard motor home, which was heading west on E 21st Avenue. The driver was unable to stop.

Rashad, who was not wearing a helmet, was in serious condition at Tampa General. No charges were filed.

Felons to get notice they can't vote

TAMPA -- Nearly 3,000 convicted felons in Hillsborough County will get letters this week telling them that they can no longer vote.

Supervisor of Elections Pam Iorio began mailing letters Wednesday to 2,900 convicted felons who are registered to vote in Hillsborough.

"It's a way for us to keep the rolls clean," Iorio said.

People convicted of a felony lose their right to vote unless the governor and three members of the Florida Cabinet restore those rights.

Iorio regularly scans local court records to purge convicted felons from the voting rolls, she said. But she and other supervisors often miss felons convicted in other counties or different states.

Finally, after working on the problem for years, the Secretary of State compiled a master list this year of all convicted felons on voter rolls.

The list, though, may contain some mistakes, Iorio said.

People who get the letter by mistake can call Iorio's office at (813) 272-5850.

Teen killed, man hurt in drive-by shooting

TAMPA -- A drive-by shooting Tuesday night left a teenager dead and a man with gunshot wounds.

Police spokesman Joe Durkin identified the teen as Cortney T. Smiley, 15, of 8607 N 17th St. He and Clifford Felton, 34, were standing together at the corner of Lake Avenue and Potter Street about 10 p.m. Tuesday when someone in the back seat of a car fired a shotgun.

Police are investigating whether the shooting is related to an earlier one that day at Lake Avenue and 22nd Street.

They are seeking a blue, four-door vehicle described by witnesses as the car that approached Smiley and Felton before they were shot.

Felton was in Tampa General Hospital in fair condition on Wednesday.

Man's body found at port identified

TAMPA -- The body found floating by a seawall Monday at the Port of Tampa has been identified as Mark Allen Hardy, 40, a man with no known address.

His body was found just before noon Monday by a Tampa Port Authority officer. It was floating near the pier at 2308 Guy Verger Blvd.

Police said no foul play is suspected, but a cause of death will not be known until the medical examiner completes an autopsy.

Teacher resigns amid marijuana inquiry

A veteran Tarpon Springs High School teacher has resigned during an investigation into whether she and a student smoked marijuana together or shared drug paraphernalia.

Kathryn Killeen resigned June 6, not long after the high school's resource officer questioned her, district officials said. The investigation has been referred to the state attorney's office.

Prosecutors are reviewing the misdemeanor case, and no charges have been filed.

The investigation began when a student told the school resource officer, sheriff's Deputy Bill Stewart, that Killeen had smoked marijuana with a student, Pinellas sheriff's spokesman Calvin Dennie said. Stewart questioned several students, including one who said that Killeen had given her a marijuana pipe, Dennie said.

Killeen told a detective that she had become good friends with several students and added, "I did something stupid."

Killeen, 40, could not be reached for comment. Jade Moore, executive director of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, would not discuss the matter. Calls to a union lawyer, Mark Herdman, were not returned.

Suspect arrested in Clearwater stabbing

CLEARWATER -- A stabbing near downtown Clearwater early Tuesday has led to the arrest of a 28-year-old man.

Andre Blanchard of 1120 Carlton St. in Clearwater was charged with attempted murder and attempted armed robbery. He was held without bail Wednesday at the Pinellas County Jail.

He is accused of stabbing Thomas A. Pisano, 31, of 117 25th St. N in St. Petersburg. Pisano was listed in good condition Wednesday at Bayfront Medical Center.

Clearwater police said Pisano was near Palmetto Street and Madison Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when a man approached and demanded money. He refused to turn over his wallet and ran. He was chased for several blocks. The man chasing him stabbed Pisano in the lower back and right arm with a knife.

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