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    Woman charged with leaving accident

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000

    SAFETY HARBOR -- Investigators say a Tampa woman flipped her car off Phillippe Parkway in Safety Harbor early Tuesday morning, then left the scene of the crash.

    Residents reported hearing squealing tires at 1:49 a.m. Tuesday. Upon inspection, residents found a 1993 Infiniti upside down in about 3 feet of water in mangroves near 2555 Phillippe Parkway, according to Pinellas County sheriff's officials. Residents called 911 and checked the area but found no driver or passengers.

    Firefighters and paramedics also responded but found no one at the scene. Rescuers searched the area and were aided by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and Sheriff's Office dogs, but no one was found. Deputies later tracked down the driver, Brandy M. Howard, 24, at a friend's residence, sheriff's officials said. Howard apparently lost control of the car, then abandoned it and walked to the friend's home, sheriff's officials said. No passenger was involved.

    Howard was charged with careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. She suffered minor injuries and received treatment on her own, sheriff's officials said.

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