Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Grandson of Tampa's prominent Poe family killed by car after Rays game

Jay Wolf, a budding musician and a grandson of Tampa's prominent Poe family, was hit and killed by a car Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas, after attending the Tampa Bay Rays-Texas Rangers game.

Wolf, 24, was the grandson of former Tampa City Council member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Haven Poe and her husband, retired businessman Charles Poe. The Poes both died earlier this year at age 82 and 85 respectively, along with Charles Poe's brother, former Tampa Mayor William F. Poe Sr., 82.

Wolf, who graduated from Plant High School in 2009, is the fourth recent death the family has had to endure.

"It's been rough," said Jennifer Poe Wolf, 53, Jay's mother and the daughter of Haven and Charles Poe. "I'm not coping very well. When it's your parent, it's hard, but when it's your child, it's devastating."

Wolf moved to Austin, Texas, last year to pursue a career as a musician, his mother said. On Tuesday, he made the three-hour drive by himself to attend the Rays game at Globe Life Park. An avid Rays fan, he wanted to see at least one game this season, his mother said.

"Couldn't be more excited to see my Rays play the Rangers tomorrow night," he wrote on his Facebook page before the game. "Gonna be a great first trip to the Ballpark at Arlington." He later posted a picture from his seat behind home plate. He sent the same photo in a text message to his mother. She told him to have fun and be careful.

Just after midnight, Wolf headed back to his hotel. He was walking on Interstate 30, north of the ball field, when a westbound car ran into him, according to Arlington police. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The car's driver was cooperating with police. Investigators were still trying to determine why Wolf was walking on the main lanes of the freeway, police said.

Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke of the tragedy Wednesday, offering sympathy to Wolf's family.

"We just want to send out our sincere condolences," Maddon said. "My goodness, it has to be awful being a parent or a grandparent. It's just a really tough day. So our thoughts and prayers go back to the people in Tampa, to the Wolf family. It's an awful moment. I wanted to acknowledge that today."

Friends and others who knew Mr. Wolf also posted remembrances on social media.

"Our deepest condolences to the Wolf family," read a message from Plant High School's Twitter account. "Jay … was an awesome young man whose personality was infectious."

In the years since he left Plant High, Mr. Wolf had pursued his passion for music, fashioning a career as a singer and guitarist. In 2013, he earned a degree in audio production from Middle Tennessee State University. He moved to Austin soon after, joining the city's flourishing local music scene and hoping to make it big. He worked delivering pizzas and tended bar at the Horseshoe Lounge to make a living while strumming Americana rock songs during live gigs at Austin venues.

"He loved Austin," his mother said. "It was a great fit for him. He was very happy there."

Along with his mother, Mr. Wolf is survived by his father, Boyd Wolf, 56, and sister, Brendle, 26. The family was starting to plan funeral arrangements Thursday morning, though the time and location had not been set.

Contact Dan Sullivan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

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