Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

FHP launches campaign to stem rise in hit-and-run cases

TAMPA — Carnegia Holmes left her Tampa home on April 2, 1998, and never returned.

That foggy morning, the 27-year-old mother of four took her fiance to work in Plant City. She was supposed to head back home to get her kids ready for school.

The next day, a passing truck driver discovered a mangled gray Oldsmobile in the woods off Interstate 75 near Fowler Avenue.

It was Holmes' car. Her body was inside. She had died in the crash, apparently the victim of a hit and run.

Her death is among thousands of hit and runs that have been investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Noting a recent uptick in hit and runs, the FHP announced a statewide campaign Monday in hopes of decreasing those numbers.

In 2012, nearly 70,000 hit-and-run crashes were reported in the state, about a 7 percent increase over the previous year, said FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins. Of that number, more than 12,500 resulted in injuries and 160 in fatalities.

Hillsborough ranked fifth among Florida counties with the largest numbers of reported hit and runs — 3,730 — in 2012. Pinellas County logged 3,175, Pasco had 1,199 and Hernando had 361, the FHP said.

"We're trying to get those numbers to drop," Gaskins said.

During the campaign, which runs through Friday, the FHP will hold news conferences to inform the public about the need to stop after a crash. The agency also will feature unsolved hit-and-run cases on its website and use social media to spread the word.

"The whole concept of this process is to make sure people understand there are consequences to their actions," Gaskins said. "Hit-and-run crashes are completely preventable."

Leaving the scene of a crash involving death or injury is a first-degree felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Many victims and their families never find closure. Holmes' case remains unsolved.

Tire marks left on her car came from a semitrailer or a large dump truck, an investigation report shows. Troopers believe the truck slammed into the Oldsmobile as the driver switched lanes. But with no witnesses or any other evidence, the hit-and-run driver was never arrested.

Holmes' son, Anton Green Jr., remembers the morning his mother didn't come home.

Following her death, Green and his three brothers and sisters were forced to separate.

"We kind of went from home to home growing up without a mother," he said. "It was terrible. I hated it."

Green, now 23, was just a boy at the time of the crash.

His mother missed his biggest milestones. His high school graduation. His first girlfriend. The day Green purchased his own car.

"Every moment of my life," Green said, "she's not around to see what I've accomplished."

Laura C. Morel can be reached at [email protected] or (813)226-3386.


Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 rear-ended car, faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding teenager on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three adults early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montan...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday investigated the death of a Hillsborough County man in the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost th...
Published: 01/20/18

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Published: 01/20/18

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Published: 01/20/18

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Published: 01/20/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report. Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drownin...
Published: 01/19/18