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Hot tar scalds road workers near Skyway

ST. PETERSBURG — Two construction workers were hospitalized early Thursday after troopers said they were injured by a drunken driver about midnight near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

The workers were installing reflectors near an off-ramp leading to a rest area just off the bridge in the northbound lanes of Interstate 275, Pinellas County emergency officials said.

They had been working in an outside emergency lane when a gray Saturn sport utility vehicle crashed into a hot tar machine at 12:05 a.m. The impact caused the machine to hit workers Daniel J. Hollingsworth, 26, and Donald Howell, 18, both of Holiday. Scalding tar spilled on both men, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

A third worker, Michael T. Lawrence, 20, New Port Richey, also was hurt by the tar. Troopers described his injuries as minor.

A Department of Transportation spokeswoman said the workers were all wearing reflective vests and were working near a truck that had a big arrow board. No lanes were closed during the operation.

Hollingsworth was taken to Tampa General Hospital and listed in good condition. Howell was taken to Bayfront Medical Center and released Thursday. Jail records identified the SUV's driver as Paul Roembke, 35, of Ellenton. He was arrested on two felony counts of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury.

Records show he had a clean driving record, and his attorney Charlie Britt said he takes responsibility for the crash and is remorseful. Britt wouldn't comment on charges that he had been drinking.

Hot tar scalds road workers near Skyway 04/10/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 10, 2008 10:17pm]
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