Tampa Bay briefs
By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times,
Motorcyclist remains in critical condition
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Schilling, a motorcyclist injured in a crash last week, remained in critical condition Monday at Bayfront Medical Center.
Schilling, 30, of 3960 55th St. N. in St. Petersburg was driving east on 54th Avenue N near 37th Street when a car in front of him stopped. Schilling's passenger, Sandy Rowe, 37, was killed.
National Night Out today at Woodlawn Park
ST. PETERSBURG -- The city of St. Petersburg is hosting its National Night Out festivities from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Woodlawn Park, 13th Avenue N and 16th Street.
National Night Out, created to encourage citizens to join forces with local police agencies to work against crime, is recognized annually by 32-million people in 9,600 communities nationwide.
The St. Petersburg event will feature free food and refreshments and demonstrations by the police department's K9 unit and displays by the Tactical Apprehension and Control (TAC) team, among other squads. While supplies last, bicycle helmets and vehicle anti-theft devices will be given out.
Woman's body found floating in river
TAMPA -- The nude body of a woman was found floating in the Hillsborough River on Monday morning, police said.
Shortly after 8 a.m., a pedestrian crossing the bridge on Martin Luther King Boulevard noticed the body in shallow water near a parking lot at 4004 N Riverside Drive.
Tampa police dive team members retrieved the body, whose identity was not released pending notification of her family. She was in her 40s, police said. There were no obvious signs of trauma.
Feather Sound town meeting scheduled
County Commissioner John Morroni will hold a town meeting Thursday for Feather Sound residents. Morroni has been holding similar meetings around his district to hear citizen concerns. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, departure gates 9 and 10.
16-year-old murder earns man death sentence
TAMPA -- Kenneth Allen Stewart was sentenced to death Monday for a murder he committed 16 years ago.
Circuit Judge Barbara Fleischer handed down the death sentence for the murder of Ruben Diaz, 21, in December 1984. Authorities say Stewart, now 37, met Diaz at a bar, persuaded Diaz to give him a ride and then ordered him to drive to an isolated area by some woods. There, he ordered Diaz to lie on the ground and shot him twice in the head.
In March, a jury recommended by a vote of 7-5 that Fleischer impose the death penalty. Stewart already faces a death sentence for a 1985 murder.
Turbo-prop lands after warning light problem
A fully loaded Continental Connection flight from Key West to Tampa landed safely at Tampa International Airport on Monday afternoon after the crew alerted fire officials that a warning light in the cabin indicated possible landing gear problems. The Beechcraft 1900 twin turbo-prop with 19 passengers and a crew of three touched down shortly after 4 p.m. Mechanics were examining the aircraft to determine why the warning light illuminated.
Member charged with theft of missing $21,000
TAMPA -- When members of a local women's racing club decided in May to spend their fundraising money on equipment, they turned to their treasurer for their account balance.
But Bobbie Cox, the money's guardian, wasn't able to produce bank documention of the $21,000 that the group had raised three months earlier. So the club secretary reported it to authorities.
On Monday, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials charged Cox, 52, with grand theft. She was jailed briefly before a judge released her on her own recognizance. The money still has not been accounted for; Cox told friends that the funds were stolen from her Riverview home.
But the club's secretary, Sharon McCubbins, said Monday that Cox's story just didn't jive. Now members of the close-knit club, the Tampa Bay Women's Racing Association for Automobile Safety, don't know what to think, McCubbins said.
"I consider her to be a real close friend," McCubbins said. "It just looks bad. I don't want to believe the worst in her. I don't know what to do."
McCubbins of Gibsonton said she has not spoken to Cox since the day she informed her friend that she was going to report the disappearance to police. The club just wants its money back, she said.
Gunfight over drugs leaves two men dead
TAMPA -- Two people died after a drug-related gunfight Monday night near an apartment complex in northeast Tampa, police said.
One of the dead men was identified as Charles Samson Bing Jr., said Tampa police spokeswoman Katie Hughes. The identity of the other man was being withheld pending notification of family.
Bing was visiting his girlfriend at the complex formerly known as Smuggler's Cove about 9:30 p.m. when two men arrived, police said. Bing argued with the men about drugs and shots were exchanged, Hughes said.
Bing, 33, died in Apt. 126 at 4103 Charter Oaks. The two men then fled in Bing's black Ford Expedition, Hughes said.
The Expedition was found about a mile away on Knollwood, a dead-end dirt road lined with single-family and duplex homes. The passenger inside was dead, Hughes said; police were looking for the driver last night. Police found a handgun inside the second-floor apartment where Bing died.
A man who identified himself as Bing's brother called the deaths senseless.
"Two young black men are gone," said Reggie Windham. "This is killing the black community."
Man shot in head at Wortham Park
RIVERVIEW -- A man was shot in the head at a park Monday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said a woman ran into a Circle K store at Balm-Riverview Road about 9:25 p.m. and said her boyfriend had been shot.
The man, whose name and condition were not available, was found at John Wortham Park on Rhodine Road and taken to a hospital.
I-75 wreck kills driver, snarls morning traffic
WESLEY CHAPEL -- A three-car wreck on Interstate 75 early Monday killed a Tampa man and wreaked havoc on morning traffic for more than three hours.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Irvin Lee Jolliff, 62, of 2102 W Cherry St. was driving north about 6:50 a.m. in his blue 1990 Lincoln when he went off the road for unknown reasons.
Jolliff plowed through two construction barricades, crossed the grass median and emerged in the southbound lanes of I-75 near the intersection of I-275.
James Steven Roddy, 47, was in his 1997 Ford pickup truck headed south. So was Timothy Keith Baitinger, 36, of Wesley Chapel who was driving his 1978 Ford pickup truck.
Both trucks rammed the right side of Jolliff's car.
Jolliff was pronounced dead at the scene. Roddy was taken by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where he remained in fair condition Monday night.
Baitinger was taken by ambulance to University Community Hospital in Tampa. Hospital officials did not release his condition Monday, though his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.
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