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Tampa Bay briefs

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000


Memorial service planned for heart surgeon

TAMPA -- A memorial service for Dr. Gary Haas, who was killed last week in a car accident in Texas, will be held Thursday at Idlewild Baptist Church.

The service is to start at 2 p.m. at 1515 W Bearss Ave.

Heidi Haas, 41, said her husband, a pediatric heart surgeon, operated on at least 1,500 children in the past five years. Many are expected to attend the service, said Tampa Children's Hospital spokeswoman Joelle Wiley.

Haas' 19-year-old-son, Granville, was driving when the accident occurred and was slightly injured. Haas' Ford Explorer crashed after a Firestone ATX tire -- the subject of a massive recall -- separated.

Donations in the doctor's memory can be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay or to the Gary Haas Heart Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. For information, call 554-8344.

Tampa woman killed crossing Dale Mabry

TAMPA -- A woman was hit by a car and killed as she tried to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday night.

Teresa Barnhill Pascarella, 48, of 106 S Hale Ave., died before her ambulance reached Tampa General Hospital.

Police said Pascarella was walking across the highway near its intersection with Cypress Avenue just after 10:30 p.m. She walked in front of a northbound car driven by Luiza Marilena Roberts of 2404 Teresa Circle. Roberts could not stop and hit Pascarella, police said. No charges were filed.

Church volunteer faces 2nd sex abuse charge

While members of the Brooksville Assembly of God worshiped, a church volunteer was preying on young boys in a nearby restroom stall, sheriff's deputies say.

Such are the newest charges facing George Rodriguez, 46, a church youth volunteer who was first arrested three weeks ago and charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy who helped him with his home repair business.

This time, Hernando County sheriff's officials say Rodriguez forced another 10-year-old boy into a church restroom July 23 and fondled him on two occasions. Authorities also released new details Thursday in which they accuse Rodriguez of assaulting the first boy on several occasions in the same restroom. The second boy's family came forward after learning about Rodriguez's first arrest, sheriff's spokeswoman Deanna Dammer said.

Gymnastics coach faces charges of abusing teens

A coach at the Culbertson Gymnastique academy in Bradenton faces charges that he sexually abused three students.

Jeffrey Richards, 38, was arrested Wednesday by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at his home in Bradenton.

He is charged with one count of sexual battery, one count of child abuse, one count of having sex with a minor and three counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Two of the female victims are 16 years old. The third is 18.

Investigators said Richards had sexual contact with the girls starting three years ago at the gym, in his home, in his car and in the woods in northwest Bradenton.

Richards remained at the Manatee County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $1-million bail.

Woman killed while trying to cross Dale Mabry

Philanthropist's son takes plea deal in killing-for-hir

TAMPA -- A woman was hit by a car and killed as she tried to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday night.

Teresa Barnhill Pascarella, 48, of 106 S Hale Ave. died before her ambulance reached Tampa General Hospital.

Police said Pascarella was walking across the busy highway near its intersection with Cypress Avenue just after 10:30 p.m. She walked in front of a northbound car driven by Luiza Marilena Roberts of 2404 Teresa Circle, police said. Roberts, who could not stop, hit Pascarella, officials said.

No charges were filed.

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