Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three die when SUV overturns near Ruskin

GIBSONTON — Three fathers of young children died after the sport utility vehicle they were riding in overturned and ejected them onto U.S. 41 early Sunday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

None of the men was wearing a seat belt, the patrol said.

The crash happened about 3:10 a.m. as the 2001 Ford Expedition they were in headed north on U.S. 41, near Valroy Road and south of Ruskin.

For some reason, the SUV went off into the grassy median and overturned.

All three men were ejected from the Ford onto the southbound lanes and shoulder of the highway, the patrol said, and died on the scene.

Troopers and family members identified the victims as Jesus Jaime, 29, Abdiel Cruz, 27, and Erick Venegas-Zuñiga, 29.

All three lived in a mobile home park in Gibsonton, family members said, and none had either a driver's license or U.S. citizenship. All three had been in the processes of applying through relatives who are citizens, family members said.

Manuel Jaime, Jesus Jaime's brother, said Jesus had come to his house Saturday night and asked Manuel's wife to borrow her car, but she said no because Jesus had no insurance.

Manuel Jaime, 34, said he thinks the three victims attended a party then went dancing, but doesn't suspect alcohol is to blame. He believes they were tired and the driver fell asleep.

"I still can't believe it," he said, speaking Spanish. "Three people dead from one accident."

Jaime described his brother as a hard worker and dedicated father to his 4-year-old son, Eduardo.

"He helped everybody that he could," Jaime said.

Jesus Jaime worked in construction, traveling often to anywhere work was available, even out of state, his brother said.

He most recently was commuting from Orlando to spend time with his son on the weekends. He most enjoyed taking Eduardo to the park during his free time.

"He would give him everything if he could," Manuel Jaime said.

Carlos Zuñiga said his brother, Erick Venegas-Zuñiga, leaves an infant daughter, Marlen Ariana, and a wife behind.

Carlos Zuñiga, 32, said his brother also worked in construction, and traveled to and from out-of-town sites to spend time with his family on the weekends.

Two of the victims, Jamie and Venegas-Zuñiga, grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and enjoyed fishing together.

Rusvel Cruz, a brother of victim Abdiel Cruz, said Abdiel lived with Erick as roommates in the mobile home park.

Rusvel Cruz, 34, said his brother worked as a carpenter in Gibsonton and that, like the others, leaves behind a child — a 2-year-old son, Abdiel Cruz Jr.

It was unclear which of the men was driving, the highway patrol said. Family members believe it was Venegas-Zuñiga because he was the only one with a vehicle.

The crash remained under investigation.

Times researcher Caryn Baird and staff writer Elizabeth Leva contributed to this report.

Three die when SUV overturns near Ruskin 02/05/12 [Last modified: Sunday, February 5, 2012 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii

    Military

    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that ‘both sides” bore blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.