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Hillsborough motorcycle deputy hit by driver distracted by man in intersection

TAMPA — A homeless man standing in the middle of a North Hillsborough intersection caused a driver to become distracted and crash into a deputy's motorcycle Wednesday morning, the Sheriff's Office reported.

About 7:15 a.m., Deputy Richard Depianta, 38, was on his way to a school crossing at Schwarzkopf Elementary School when he noticed a homeless man standing in the intersection of Bearss and Florida avenues.

Depianta, a 10-year Sheriff's Office veteran, turned on his lights and stopped — even though his traffic light to turn left onto Bearss was green. He told the man to get out of the intersection, the Sheriff's Office reported.

The man refused, and Depianta repeated his request several more times.

The light changed, allowing east-west traffic on Bearss Avenue, and a Toyota Tundra driven by Brian Nolen, 52, of Lakeland, struck Depianta's motorcycle.

Depianta suffered road rash was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. Nolen was not injured, the Sheriff's Office said.

After the crash, the homeless man fled the scene, according to deputies.

"The cause of the accident was a homeless person, so we're probably not going to charge the driver," said sheriff's spokesman Debbie Carter, adding that it's still under investigation.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or

Hillsborough motorcycle deputy hit by driver distracted by man in intersection 08/24/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 3:20pm]
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