LARGO — Police are investigating a bizarre accident involving a Sun Coast Hospital patient who was killed early Monday when he walked into the middle of the road.
Darrel Tolliver, 48, of 1353 Pierce St. in Clearwater checked into the hospital around 9:30 p.m. Sunday with leg and chest pain, said his wife of 19 years, Deborah.
At 2 a.m., Tolliver was admitted to the second floor, and at 5 a.m. he went outside for a smoke break, officials said.
Tolliver, still wearing a heart monitor, inexplicably walked into the middle of Indian Rocks Road, police said. A female driver heading north to a yoga class struck him with the front of her maroon Chevy Suburban.
Deborah Tolliver said her husband suffers from multiple complications from a work-related injury in 2002, when 900 pounds of steel bounced off a conveyor belt and onto his right foot at his job at an Ohio steel mill.
After the injury, Tolliver had three toes on his right foot amputated and walked with a cane, she said.
On Sunday, Tolliver was in a lot of pain with swelling that extended from his foot to his knee on his right leg, Deborah Tolliver said.
"I'm reasonably sure he was disoriented," said Deborah Tolliver, 49. "He was not in his right mind. He was not steady on his feet. I don't know if he realized where he was."
Tolliver said a hospital nurse told her that her husband refused to sign a form that patients are supposed to sign before they leave the building.
At another visit to Sun Coast about two months ago, Tolliver was committed under the state's Baker Act and was not allowed to leave his room, Deborah Tolliver said.
"They said before he seemed to be kind of out of it, so they Baker Acted him. It seems like they would have done that again," she said.
On Monday, someone who lives near the hospital heard what happened and banged on the doors of the hospital emergency room, police said.
Tolliver's heart monitor was still in the road.
The 911 call came in at 5:11 a.m., dispatchers said. The crash happened just north of the hospital, which is at 2025 Indian Rocks Road S.
All lanes of Indian Rocks Road south of Adrian Avenue were closed for almost two hours while Largo police investigated.
Largo police Sgt. Ryan Dulski said the driver, 58-year-old Susan Hamilton Bedore of 1401 89th Ter. in Seminole, was not injured and "not in trouble at all." Her Suburban has a large dent in the front.
"It was pitch black," Dulski said, and there was no crosswalk.
The speed limit on the road is 35 mph. Dulski said police did not expect to file charges against the driver.
The Tollivers, who moved to Florida from Ohio in 2003, have 13-year-old twins, an 18-year-old son and a 24-year-old son. Deborah Tolliver said she had told their children about their father's death.
"I'm still numb," Deborah Tolliver said Monday afternoon. "I cannot believe this has happened."