NEW PORT RICHEY
5 Teens injured when car hits tree, overturns
A car filled with five teenagers crashed on Mitchell Boulevard shortly after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, leaving two with serious injuries. The 1999 Plymouth sedan was headed west near Davenport Drive when it swerved to the right, overcorrected, drove into the median, struck a tree and overturned, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The driver, Antoinette G. Fitapelli, 18, of New Port Richey was in serious condition. Passengers Janette Horn, 17, of Holiday also was in serious condition; and Michell Fitapelli, 17, of New Port Richey, Daniel Barnes, 17, of Holiday and Donald G. VanVlack, 17, of Holiday, had minor injuries. The driver and Horn were taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. No one was wearing a seat belt, said the FHP, which is investigating.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Tener decides against testifying
Lawrence Tener decided not to take the stand after all. The 27-year-old is on trial this week, charged with killing Tammy Lee Bowles in 2004. The two had met at the Edge bar in Moon Lake shortly before Halloween that year and went back to Tener's mobile home. Bowles' body was found two months later in a shallow grave in Tener's yard. He told authorities that he snapped when he caught Bowles, 43, trying to steal his marijuana. Authorities say he struck her with an ax handle twice and raped her. Tener is not denying responsibility for Bowles' death, but his attorneys say he is guilty of manslaughter, not first-degree murder. They indicated at the start of the trial that he would testify in his own defense, but on Wednesday he told Circuit Judge Shawn Crane that he had decided against it. His attorneys brought forth no other witnesses or evidence. Closing arguments are set for this morning.
4 to interview for 2 principal posts
Candidates for Pasco County's two principal vacancies will get to make their cases Monday, when the district's superintendent and her key staff interview the hopefuls in advance of Tuesday's School Board meeting. Two candidates have applied for each post. For Sunray Elementary, they are Judith Cosh, currently assistant principal of Chasco Elementary, and Lee Anne Yerkey, currently assistant principal of Richey Elementary. For Zephyrhills High, they are Steve Van Gorden, currently principal of Hudson Middle, and Jennifer Crosby, currently assistant principal of Wesley Chapel High. Zephyrhills High is being run by an assistant principal after Gerri Painter's abrupt resignation this month. Sunray needs a leader because Yvonne Reins is being reassigned to Cox Elementary. Assistant superintendent Jim Davis said the staff could have its recommendation to the School Board ready for Tuesday, depending on how the conversations go.