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Car hits, kills woman on her birthday

By SUSAN THURSTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 18, 2000


TAMPA -- A woman walking across the street near her Tampa home was struck and killed by a passing motorist Saturday night on her 40th birthday.

Lilly Katherine Toombs was crossing E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in 2400 block at about 10:40 p.m. when she was struck by a car, police said.

The driver of the 1998 Dodge Dakota, Robert Lee Staten, wasn't charged in the accident. He didn't want to discuss it when reached by telephone at his Tampa home.

Toombs' husband, Nathan, said Sunday that his wife was coming back from her brother's house when she was hit in front of their home at 2420 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The two had planned to go out to celebrate her birthday.

Mr. Toombs, 46, came across the accident as he returned home from working on a friend's car.

"When I came up the street, I saw someone lying on the ground," he said. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that it could be her."

Friends and relatives described Mrs. Toombs as a kind woman who enjoyed taking care of her 5-year-old grandson. She had one daughter, 22-year-old Emon Keller of Tampa.

Mr. Toombs suspects his wife never saw the car coming. The stretch of the road near the Memorial Park Cemetery isn't well-lit, and a lot of motorists disobey the 40-mph speed limit, he said.

Police said the driver was not speeding at the time of the crash. The investigation was continuing.

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