Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brookridge woman, 79, dies in wreck driving husband home from hospital

BROOKSVILLE — Bernard LaPorta had just been discharged from Brooksville Regional Hospital on Tuesday night, and his wife, Ellen, had come to pick him up.

As they were leaving, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, Ellen LaPorta, 79, drove into the path of an oncoming car. She was killed; her husband remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday.

Bernard LaPorta, 85, initially had been admitted to the hospital Monday, complaining that he was short of breath, according to family members.

His wife was driving a Hyundai Elantra north on Medical Center Drive at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, on the way back to the couple's home in Brookridge, when, as she was crossing into the median on Cortez Boulevard, she was struck by an eastbound Buick Regal driven by 17-year-old Skye Evelyn Amato of Brooksville.

Amato suffered minor injuries, the FHP reported. Everyone was wearing seat belts, and alcohol wasn't a factor in the wreck.

The LaPortas' daughter, Katherine Poquette, and her husband, William F. Smith Jr., were waiting at the LaPortas' home when Ellen LaPorta called with the news that her husband was leaving the hospital, Smith said.

"We were so happy," he said.

An hour passed, and Poquette and Smith became worried that the couple had not arrived. They drove toward Brooksville Regional, retracing Ellen LaPorta's route.

"We pulled up on the accident," Smith said. "She gasped, and I told her, 'Don't think the worst yet.' "

Bernard LaPorta was hospitalized Wednesday at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson and had not yet been informed that his wife had died, Smith said Wednesday morning.

Natives of upstate New York, the couple moved to Florida in the 1990s after Bernard LaPorta retired from a career as a mechanic. His wife loved to crochet, and together they went on cruises, said Smith.

Poquette, one of the LaPortas' six children, said she was devastated.

"I don't know how to feel," she said.

Brookridge woman, 79, dies in wreck driving husband home from hospital 07/31/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 9:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.