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Off-duty Tampa police officer dies after crash with SUV

RIVERVIEW — An off-duty Tampa police officer died and his wife was injured Saturday when their Honda Goldwing motorcycle and a Cadillac SUV collided.

Officer Howard Gimbel, 53, was transported to St. Joseph's South in critical condition after the crash, which occurred about 5:30 p.m. at Big Bend Road and Clement Pride Boulevard. His death was announced later.

Gimbel's wife, Tonya, 52, was riding with him. She suffered serious injuries and was taken to Tampa General Hospital. She was in guarded condition late Saturday night, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office said.

The driver of the Cadillac, Lisa Denise Allen, 46, was not injured.

The Sheriff's Office said Allen was driving southbound on Clement Pride Boulevard and had stopped at the intersection of Big Bend Road, waiting for traffic to clear. She entered the intersection, but did not see the motorcycle traveling east on Big Bend Road at approximately 45 mph.

Allen provided a voluntary blood sample, but there is no reason to believe alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash, the Sheriff's Office said. Charges are pending.

Gimbel was a 20-year veteran of the police department, serving with the motorcycle unit, the department said in a statement.

"This is a tragic day for our Department and for our city; everyone is feeling the loss," said Tampa police Chief Eric Ward, who went to the hospital after learning of the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gimbel family. I want them to know they will always be a part of the Tampa Police Department family."

Off-duty Tampa police officer dies after crash with SUV 05/07/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 8, 2016 11:34am]
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