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Man hurt in wreck, then killed in hit-and-run

Witnesses say the motorcyclist seemed fine after the first accident involving four vehicles.

By SUSAN THURSTON

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 23, 2001


TEMPLE TERRACE -- A man hurt in a wreck along U.S. 92 outside of Temple Terrace on Friday night was killed seconds later when a van swerved off the road and ran over him.

Edwin Torres, 34, was driving home about 8 p.m. when a car going in the opposite direction rear-ended a truck, lost control and hit Torres on his motorcycle near the intersection of Carmack Road.

Witnesses told his relatives he was standing and appeared to be okay when the white van came along and hit him. The vehicle dragged him for a distance, then sped off.

While authorities searched for the van Saturday, his family struggled to make sense of the tragic chain of events.

"He was an innocent bystander," said his fiancee, Gina Wilson, sobbing at their home in the Terrace Club Apartments.

Wilson, 35, was a few minutes ahead of Torres in her car when the crash happened. When she didn't see him behind her, she turned around and saw the flashing lights of emergency trucks and police cars.

"He said he would meet me at home," she said. "We told each other we loved each other."

The couple had planned to watch movies with Torres' sons, Steven, 11, and Edwin "Bubby" Jr., 6. Dinner was already on the stove.

Wilson said they got engaged on Valentine's Day and planned to get married on Halloween, the anniversary of their first date. They looked forward to buying a new car and, possibly, having a child together.

"All he wanted to do was make me happy," said Wilson, who runs a coin laundry in Temple Terrace.

Torres'family said he had just gotten his driver's license reinstated and was trying hard to get his life on track. He was working at a steel factory as a temporary employee and hoped to be hired full time.

He loved his motorcycle.

Authorities suspected alcohol may have been a factor in the first accident, which involved four vehicles. Sgt. Leroy McIntosh of the Florida Highway Patrol said blood was drawn from Kimberly Adkins, 32, of Tampa, who was driving the car that caused the chain reaction. Charges were pending. Anyone with information can call the Highway Patrol shift commander at (813) 632-6859 ext. 270.

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