Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Inspiring Pinellas sheriff's deputy Dan DiCicco dies at 29

ST. PETERSBURG — Entering his senior year of high school, Dan DiCicco was sure his dreams would come true. He would go to college on a football scholarship.

Letters from recruiters filled a box that originally held a ream of copy paper.

Then Mr. DiCicco, a lineman at Dixie Hollins High, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.

He recovered, but months of treatment took a toll on his body. Surgery on his throat had damaged his vocal cords. He spoke in a hoarse whisper.

His plans diverted, Mr. DiCicco simply found another mountain to move. He became a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy. Then he made the SWAT team.

Mr. DiCicco died Sunday, two days after collapsing in a parking lot. He was 29.

"He was one who just never admitted he could not do something," said Cheryl DiCicco, a retired school principal and Mr. DiCicco's mother.

Daniel Joseph DiCicco was born in St. Petersburg and attended local schools. By the start of his senior year he was 6 feet tall, 285 pounds and captain of the football team.

But he found it increasingly hard to breathe. Doctors found a 10-inch cancerous tumor blocking his windpipe.

Mr. DiCicco underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation at All Children's Hospital. He lost 40 pounds in four weeks. Eight weeks after the surgery he played in a football game, then somehow finished out the season.

But he was not the same player, and the scholarship chances went away.

He graduated from the University of South Florida, then Manatee Tech Law Enforcement Academy.

"Some people said he would never be able to work where physical effort was required, that he couldn't be a cop because he couldn't yell," said Paul DiCicco, 32, his brother.

Through additional surgery, Mr. DiCicco regained some volume in his speaking voice. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office still turned down his application to work with dogs. But Mr. DiCicco lived his chosen career as a Pinellas deputy. He raided drug houses, made the physically demanding SWAT team, and was last year assigned to a campaign stop by President Barack Obama.

"Being soft-spoken worked to his advantage," said Cheryl DiCicco, 61. "It de-escalates the situation when you're not yelling in someone's face."

After an eight-year relationship with a girlfriend ended, Mr. DiCicco roomed with Everett Vance, a friend since the sixth grade. The buddies were eating at a Wing House restaurant on Fourth Street N Friday when Mr. DiCicco complained of chest pains. He collapsed soon after and was taken to Northside Hospital. Had he lived, doctors told the family, he would have likely needed a heart transplant.

"We believe he knew he would not be himself again," his mother said, "and he made the choice not to fight this time."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A stray shower is possible today as another cold front moves through, according to 10Weather WTSP. Luckily, the front only depresses temperatures into the lower 70s. The week...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

Ybor City remembers Ferdie Pacheco, a true ‘Tampaiño’

TAMPA — The speakers at Dr. Ferdie Pacheco’s memorial on Thursday evening were asked to keep their remarks to under 10 minutes, and to refrain from using profanity.They all thought that was pretty funny, of course."Like Ferdie ever spoke for less tha...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

The season of giving is upon us, so here’s a selection of military-themed gifts for the folks on your Christmas and Hannukah lists.Drink up: American Freedom Distillery is a veteran-owned maker of artisan whiskeys, rums, vodkas and gins located in St...
Published: 12/15/17
Gain time: For many lifers sentenced as juveniles, it means they’ve done their time

Gain time: For many lifers sentenced as juveniles, it means they’ve done their time

When she was 15, Chantay Clark shot and killed a woman while trying to steal a car. Later, she took a man’s truck at gunpoint, forcing him to take cover inside a drain pipe.Circuit Judge Michael Andrews knew all about her.On Nov. 3, she stood shackle...
Published: 12/15/17
Clearwater down to two finalists for CRA director

Clearwater down to two finalists for CRA director

CLEARWATER — The next Community Redevelopment Agency director who will be tasked with trying to revive the long-struggling downtown has come down to two women, narrowed from a pool of 40 applicants. Emily A. Colon, 31, a Pasco County budget analyst a...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

TAMPA — USF used a 21-3 run midway through the second half en route to an 83-63 win over Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night before an announced 2,091 at the Sun Dome.The victory halted a four-game losing streak for the Bulls (5-6), who scored the last...
Updated: 7 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 14

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls soccerLargo 4, Boca Ciega 1
Updated: 7 hours ago