Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mother killed in Selmon Expressway crash

TAMPA — The last time she talked to her daughter, Tammy Rosian was worried. It was 11:30 a.m., and her daughter, Jennifer O'Boyle, was about to jump in the shower, pack the car and head for Treasure Island.

Today is Jennifer's 25th birthday. She had plans to spend two days with her boyfriend. O'Boyle would take along her 4-year-old daughter, Summer Moll, who loved the water.

That worried Rosian, who was from Chicago and had heard there was a hurricane out there. "I told her to be careful of the hurricane so you don't get carried away by the waves," said Rosian, 46.

"She said, 'Don't worry, Mom, everything is going to be okay.' "

O'Boyle never made it. She died Wednesday in a wreck that left Summer severely injured, after a driver heading the wrong way hurtled into her path on the lower portion of the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol said the two vehicles would have approached each other at a combined speed of nearly 130 mph — too fast for O'Boyle to get out of the way.

The resulting five-car pile-up closed part of the expressway for nearly four hours. Alcohol may have been involved, Gaskins said.

About 2 p.m., a Honda Pilot sport utility vehicle driven by 25-year-old Cheryl Maria Riemann of Ruskin drove onto the westbound part of the expressway, going east. Witnesses described traffic cones that had been knocked down. She may have entered near 78th Street, though that was not confirmed Wednesday night. She steered to the inside lane.

O'Boyle was also in the inside lane, in a blue-green Pontiac coupe, coming the opposite way.

The two cars struck head-on near milepost 12, not far from Palm River Road. The collision shredded the driver's side of the Pontiac, destroyed the front end of the Pilot and left a 100-foot trail of debris in the road.

The Pilot stopped on the inside shoulder. Riemann was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at Tampa General Hospital. Her family could not be reached.

The Pontiac spun to the outside shoulder, where a Honda minivan struck it again, and then a pickup truck and a BMW hit the minivan, the Highway Patrol said. Occupants of those three vehicles were not seriously injured.

An officer at the scene said there was a body in the Pontiac. Clothes, apparently from the trunk, littered the highway.

Summer was also listed in critical condition at TGH.

O'Boyle grew up in Chicago and came to the Brandon area four years ago. A single mother, she learned to shoulder responsibility early, her mother said.

O'Boyle had moved in with her mother and was working at a Cracker Barrel restaurant while attending Everest University, an online college, pursuing a certified nurse assistant degree.

O'Boyle was a carefree conversationalist and trusted people too easily, her mother said.

At age 4, Summer was just beginning to blossom with curiosity about the way the world worked. "She loved activity books, matching things and coloring things," Rosian said.

Especially, she loved water. Last Tuesday, her day off, O'Boyle took Summer to the YMCA water park. Most of the time, playing with her daughter was as much of a break as O'Boyle got, with days and evenings filled with work and school. She was a year and a half away from her degree.

"She was trying to give her daughter a better life," Rosian said.

This weekend was to be different. O'Boyle and Summer would stay with Mike Robinson, who recently moved to Treasure Island from Tampa. They would swim in the Gulf, perhaps take in a couple of movies. The couple had been seeing each other for five months.

Almost from the start, Robinson said, he entertained thoughts of asking O'Boyle, a woman he considered "beyond a great person," to marry him.

"I've been thinking about it for a long time," he said.

Tammy Rosian was on her way home from work after 5 p.m. when her son Zack called. Two state troopers had come to the door asking about Jennifer.

Rosian arrived and they told her that her daughter was dead, and her granddaughter clinging to life.

At her Brandon home, she clutched a tissue Wednesday evening while Zack, 17, and her other son Mike, 16, sat motionless beside her. Poring over photographs, she came across a shot of Summer in a Raggedy Ann costume and cried.

News that alcohol might have been involved seemed to dismay her. Asked what she would say to the other driver, she said, "I hope you had a good reason, because you took my only daughter away, and now you might have taken my granddaughter."

Robinson groped for words. Why, he asked, would anyone expect to be struck head-on at 2 p.m. on a weekday?

"You can't prevent somebody from driving on the wrong side of the road," he said. "What are you supposed to do?"

Times researcher John Martin and staff writers Justin George, Rebecca Catalanello and Jan Wesner contributed to this report.

Mother killed in Selmon Expressway crash 09/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 11:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.