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FSU student dies after car crashes into Old Tampa Bay

The driver’s body and his car are removed from the water. Witnesses say he drove off a service road next to the Courtney Campbell Parkway and into the bay.

JACK ROWLAND | Times

The driver’s body and his car are removed from the water. Witnesses say he drove off a service road next to the Courtney Campbell Parkway and into the bay.

TAMPA — A 25-year-old college student died after driving off a service road next to the Courtney Campbell Parkway and into Old Tampa Bay about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

The car, a black four-door Toyota Avalon, was pulled from the water Thursday morning. Divers and a helicopter tried several times overnight to recover it but were stymied by high winds, choppy water and low visibility, Tampa police Lt. Brian Dugan said.

Police identified the driver as Ryan Lee Marsh, 25, of Tallahassee. Detectives said that Marsh, a master's student at Florida State University, also had an efficiency apartment in Tampa and visited his girlfriend regularly here.

As of Thursday afternoon, police said his death appeared to be an accident, but said the investigation is continuing.

Witnesses told police they saw the driver speeding eastbound on the narrow, one-way service road that horseshoes back west under the hump of the bridge. But the driver never slowed for the turn and smashed straight through a guardrail, launching the car into the water.

Police said the car floated about 400 feet south through the support pillars under the parkway, where a dive team Thursday morning found the wreckage and a truck towed it from the water.

FSU student dies after car crashes into Old Tampa Bay 03/20/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:17am]
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