Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Pasco commissioner sued over 2012 car crash

NEW PORT RICHEY — A lawsuit has been filed against Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey stemming from a crash last year on the road that bears her family name.

Starkey, 55, said she was delivering dinner to an elderly neighbor on May 21 and driving west on Alico Pass when, just after 5 p.m., she attempted to cross Starkey Boulevard. Starkey, who was driving a 2012 Volvo sedan, said she looked both ways before crossing and pulled out slowly.

"There was a car that I never saw," Starkey said Friday.

A 2004 Volvo sedan headed south collided with Starkey's car.

"We both went flying," she said.

Starkey and the other driver — Lindsey Conte, 21, of Odessa — were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. Both women wore seat belts, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Starkey said she did not suffer serious injury.

"I'm okay and I'm just hoping she's okay," Starkey said.

Starkey, who was cited for failing to yield the right of way from a stop sign, said the lawsuit isn't surprising.

"I don't think it's unexpected. That's the nature of how things happen today," Starkey said. "I'm just glad that she's still with us."

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 4 in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court and seeks damages exceeding $15,000. Conte's attorney, Peter F. Catania, did not return a call late Friday.

Conte was not able to be reached. Her mother, Jeanne St. John, said at the time of the crash, Conte was a young mother with an infant son and that her husband, a Marine, was deployed to Afghanistan. She said Conte broke her right leg in two places and had a collapsed lung. She said Conte underwent rehabilitation therapy for her leg.

"It was an ordeal," St. John said, though she added the crash was an "accident."

Starkey said that intersection, which is just south of a bend in Starkey Boulevard, is notoriously dangerous. She said she is working to get it changed, possibly making it a four-way stop or making it into a roundabout.

"It's hard to get out and it's hard to get across," she said.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

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