Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco couple's weekly dining outing ends in crash that kills wife

TRINITY — Sherry Billitteri didn't wear her seat belt because they were so close to home. Most Friday nights, she and her husband, Philip Billitteri, went out to dinner. Last week, they went to Bonefish Grill — just a few miles from their home in Heritage Springs. Sherry, 66, talked of how excited she was to see her sons, who planned to visit for Mother's Day.

It was a little after 7 p.m. and still light outside. The couple always tried to get home before dark. Philip, 58, was driving. They were on Trinity Boulevard, turning left onto Tamarind Boulevard — the entrance to the subdivision, just three turns from home.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Philip turned in front of a pickup truck headed east on Trinity, which crashed into Sherry's side of the car. Philip, who told authorities he had a few drinks during dinner, said he didn't see the truck. He just turned and "got slammed," he told the Pasco Times on Thursday.

Phillip wore his seat belt. Neither he nor the driver of the truck — William D. Maher, 38, of Spring Hill — were injured.

Sherry was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where she died, according to the patrol's report released Thursday.

Philip's blood sample was taken and sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis, which could take weeks. Charges are pending the outcome of the tests, the patrol's report states.

When asked if he was worried about charges, Philip said no, he hadn't thought about it.

He and Sherry met at a Chicago Bears game at Green Bay in the 1980s. Both were divorced. Sherry had three sons. Philip had one. Neither was looking for someone. But then they saw each other at the game and happened to be staying at the same hotel. They went dancing.

"That was it," Philip said. When he met her, he had been single for 10 years. "We were soulmates."

They married in 1988 and lived in Chicago for eight years before moving to Florida to get out of the cold weather.

Sherry loved the sun and the beach. She usually read a book a week — mysteries, love stories. She worked as an executive secretary for a contractor in Largo.

Philip ran his lighting business from home. They had a boat and a pool, both things Sherry enjoyed.

Philip didn't run an obituary for his wife. There was no funeral, no visitation or official memorial service. He said he did what she wanted — she was cremated and, on Wednesday with her sons, he scattered her ashes at Clearwater Beach, one of her favorite places.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco couple's weekly dining outing ends in crash that kills wife 05/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 7:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Erasmo Ramirez shuts down his old Rays teammates

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem is, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  3. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  4. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.
  5. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.