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Crash victim a mom to neighborhood

This family photo shows Windelon Tolbert Seymore, right, with her daughter Carla Williams. Seymore died Friday.

Special to the Times

This family photo shows Windelon Tolbert Seymore, right, with her daughter Carla Williams. Seymore died Friday.

TAMPA — Windelon Tolbert Seymore lived in the same house in Tampa for 45 years.

With four grown children of her own, she also served as a mom to the neighborhood, often doling out frozen treats and free advice to kids who stopped by her home on Louisiana Avenue.

She had nothing but love for everyone, said her son, Timmy Simms.

On Friday afternoon, that came to an end.

Heading to a girls' weekend in Orlando with friends, Seymore and another passenger in the car, Brenda Evans Richard, died in an accident involving five cars on eastbound Interstate 4.

It happened about 3 p.m. when a Ford pickup truck rear-ended the Toyota Camry that Seymore was riding in. The Camry spun out of control and its rear hit the back of a Chevrolet van. The van careened across all three traffic lanes and sideswiped a Toyota Tundra before being hit by a Dodge Dakota entering the highway. Both Seymore, 66, and Richard, 56, died at the scene.

The Camry driver, Shantel Lawton, 47, was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital with serious injuries, where she was treated and released. The front-seat passenger, Amanda Evans Coleman, 48, was taken to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition. All four women in the Camry were wearing their seat belts, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Joshua David Russo, 36, of Deltona, the Ford pickup driver, was taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital with serious injuries. Troopers said that he failed to notice the Camry slowing down in front of him before he hit the car. Charges are pending.

No one else was seriously injured, the Highway Patrol said. The wreck closed all lanes of eastbound I-4 for four hours.

Seymour retired three years ago from the Hillsborough County School District, where she first drove school buses then worked in administration, said her son, Timothy Tyrone Simms, of Tallahassee.

At home, she enjoyed cooking and sitting on her front porch with friends.

Her priority in life was her children and her husband of almost 22 years, Howard Seymore, her son said.

"She taught us to be honest, to do the right thing and to treat people with respect," Timothy Tyrone Simms said.

"She raised us the right way," he said. "We'll remember her for that."

Reporter Sarah Whitman contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at

Crash victim a mom to neighborhood 06/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:09pm]
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