Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gandy crash victim remembered for his love of music

Manny Bonet Jr., right, knew how to cheer up his girlfriend, Maureen Doucette, she says.

Courtesy of Maureen Doucette

Manny Bonet Jr., right, knew how to cheer up his girlfriend, Maureen Doucette, she says.

ST. PETERSBURG — Twelve days ago, Manny Bonet Jr. went to Miami to deejay his father's 60th birthday party.

The 29-year-old, known as DJ Stylez, had only been spinning for a couple years, but his passion for it was obvious. He was into hip hop and reggaeton, but played lots of Santana that day.

"That's the music I like," his father, Manny Bonet Sr., said Wednesday. "He played it for me, and he did a good job."

That was the last time he saw his son.

On Tuesday night, the Tampa man crashed near the Gandy Bridge. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating whether texting contributed to the crash; they found a cellphone with text messages on it at the scene.

"Kids nowadays, they're constantly on the telephone," Manny Bonet Sr. said. "It's unfortunate."

Troopers said Manny Bonet Jr. lost control of his white 2010 Honda at about 7:40 p.m. just west of the bridge. They said the speeding sedan veered onto a grassy median and into a power pole and a set of palm trees east of San Fernando Boulevard NE.

Bonet, who was alone, was thrown from the car. He wasn't wearing a seat belt.

"A distracted driving issue is something we are definitely considering," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, an FHP spokesman. "I am not prepared to say he was texting at the moment that he lost control. . . . We may never know officially. There's a whole lot of investigation that still has to go on."

The incident comes just days after state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, filed a bill to ban texting while driving. Similar bills have been proposed in the Legislature in recent years, but have not been passed.

Bonet's family and friends are hoping for more answers.

"I can't believe it," said Freddy Fernando, 30, of Tampa. Fernando, a reggaeton artist, met Manny Bonet Jr. a couple of years ago at an Ybor City club.

Back then, Fernando said, Manny Bonet Jr. was just starting to deejay. But he stood out, Fernando said, because he incorporated local music into his sets.

"He would go out of his way to get somebody's music," Fernando said. "For the little time that he was doing it, he was really good."

Manny Bonet Sr. said his son was diagnosed with mental illness issues as a boy and didn't work because he was on disability. He was outgoing and friendly.

"He was always happy, always smiling," said girlfriend Maureen Doucette, 26, of Plant City. "He knew how to cheer me up. He was just an all-around good guy."

Doucette said she never saw him text while behind the wheel. If the phone rang or he got a message, he asked her to handle it.

"When I was in the car with him, I did it for him," she said.

Doucette said the last text she got from him was a couple of hours before the crash. He was at the store shopping for Christmas decorations with his mother.

Gandy crash victim remembered for his love of music 11/28/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  2. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  3. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  4. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators

    National

    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.
  5. Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

    World

    BAGHDAD — Iraq's central government in Baghdad ordered the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum on support for independence.

    Iraqi Kurds climb the fence into a soccer stadium during a rally in Irbil, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, on Friday. Kurds will vote in a referendum today on the creation of their own country.