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Teen driver who killed mother may face felony


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 2000

TAMPA -- Authorities have recommended felony charges against a teenage driver who struck and killed a young mother pushing a stroller.

Michele Calta, a first-time mother, was hit Nov. 28 while walking her newborn daughter on her street, Branch Mooring Drive in suburban Countryway.

Deputies said Richard David Delrio, 17, a neighbor and senior at Sickles High School, steered a blue Mitsubishi Eclipse around a corner and struck Calta and the stroller. Calta hit the windshield. Kaitlyn Renee, the baby girl, strapped in a car seat propped up in a stroller, was sent flying to the pavement but suffered only minor bruising to the forehead.

Rod Reder, a spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, said the chief investigator recently completed the case and submitted his work to the State Attorney's Office with a recommendation to charge Delrio. Reder would not comment on the exact charges Delrio might face, but said they would be felony criminal charges for the incident itself, and that those charges would be explained in the investigation.

"It's a very exhaustive report," said Reder. "He is going to do a recommendation to find this kid at fault for possible criminal charges."

The driver of a white van who may have witnessed the accident never came forward or was found, but Reder said many neighbors contacted the Sheriff's Office with information.

"We had several people come forward who had been there right before or after, but not that white van," said Reder.

Records show Delrio has been cited for three driving infractions in the past year and has seven points on his license. The violations include an improper lane change in March, which resulted in an accident. As a result of the infractions, a restriction on his license limits his driving to trips to and from school.

Recent coverage

A new life as mother snuffed out by crash (November 30, 2000)

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