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Authorities identify pedestrian killed by motorcyclist in Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — Josefa Rodriguez, 73, of Spring Hill was identified Friday as the pedestrian who was killed by a speeding motorcyclist Thursday as she attempted to cross Spring Hill Drive.

Rodriguez was struck by James Paul Conaty about 10:15 a.m. Authorities say the 30-year-old Spring Hill man killed her when he sped through a red light on Spring Hill Drive, just east of the Suncoast Parkway.

Rodriguez was crossing Spring Hill Drive from Spring Park Way and headed toward the Suncoast Crossing shopping center at the time of the crash. Authorities said she lived nearby.

Residents near the intersection said Friday that Rodriguez often walked to the Target store on the other side of Spring Hill Drive, but none of them knew her personally.

"I've seen her a hundred times, but I have no clue who she is," said Garette Haskins Jr. He and his neighbors recalled that Rodriguez often walked with an umbrella to shield herself from the sun. The umbrella lay on the side of the road Thursday, yards from her body.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, said Conaty sustained serious injuries in the wreck but was in stable condition Friday. He has three driving under the influence charges on his record. For one of those charges, he served 21/2 years in prison and was ordered to pay $510,500 in restitution.

He has a lengthy history of traffic violations, and he had been given until Aug. 8 to complete driving school for a passing in a no-passing zone violation. His license was valid at the time of Thursday's fatality.

Possible charges against Conaty await the results of a toxicology report, the FHP said.

Melvin Backman can be reached at mbackman@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Authorities identify pedestrian killed by motorcyclist in Spring Hill 07/29/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011 8:17pm]
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