Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

Two die when car strikes moped in Tampa, troopers say

TAMPA — Two passengers on a moped were killed and its driver was seriously injured late Sunday after a motorist with a suspended license slammed into the back of the bike and then fled, according to state troopers and records.

The driver of the car, Amanda Angelica Diaz, 23, of Tampa was later found at her home and taken back to the crash scene, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Troopers said she had not seen the moped, and, as of Monday, she had not been charged in the crash.

The crash happened about 11:30 p.m. Sunday when Cameron Maddox, 19, was carrying two friends on the back of the moped on northbound Dale Mabry Highway.

At the trio approached the intersection of Busch Boulevard, a 2010 Hyundai Accent came from behind. Its driver — Diaz — struck it, troopers said.

All three people on the bike were thrown onto the road, troopers said. One, a young woman, fell into an adjacent lane and was run over by a Kia Optima that had been traveling alongside the Accent.

The woman, whom authorities had not yet identified, died at the scene.

A second rider, 16-year-old Michael Garcia of Tampa, was taken with Maddox to St. Joseph's Hospital.

Maddox remained hospitalized Monday with serious injuries, authorities said. Garcia was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"He was just kind of being a teenager," Edward Garcia, 19, said of his younger brother.

The teen had been attending Leto High School's adult education program. He was working to obtain his GED certificate. Once done with high school, Garcia wanted to pursue music. He wrote rap songs and practiced every day to perfect the art. He had produced his own hip-hop records, which he shared with his brother.

"He was a talented kid. He was a rising star," Edward Garcia said. "He was trying to grow up. Maybe a little too fast, I would say."

The two brothers lived with their parents in a modest Northdale area home. In the past year, they had become closer than ever before, Edward said. The older Garcia would take his brother out to eat. When his younger brother needed a ride, he'd give him one.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't present when he needed a ride last night," he said Monday.

He said he didn't know the two other people his brother was riding with when he died.

A state law pointed out by the patrol allows a moped operator to carry a passenger if the bike is "designed to carry more than one person" with a regular seat that accommodates two or if it has another seat "firmly attached."

After the crash, Diaz fled the scene, troopers said. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies later tracked her down at her home and took her to the scene. She was not injured.

Investigators said they do not believe that alcohol was a factor.

Diaz's driving record is marred with a list of infractions, according to records from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Two crashes last year involving Diaz were investigated by law enforcement, the records show. She has received citations for careless driving and "driving too fast for conditions," as well as two speeding tickets.

Her license was suspended Sept. 24 because she failed to get auto liability insurance, according to the records. It had not been reinstated.

Diaz has a single prior arrest in Florida, from 2009, on charges of larceny and burglary of an occupied dwelling, state records show. She pleaded guilty to the burglary charge and was sentenced to probation.

The driver of the Optima, Martin Santiago, 40, of Tampa, was not injured.

The crash remained under investigation.

Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde and news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Comments
Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

Police: St. Petersburg driver falls asleep at wheel after drinking, kills motorcyclist

ST. PETERSBURG — A 22-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel after drinking and ran a red light, hitting and killing a motorcyclist Saturday night, police said.Just before midnight, Michael P. Majchrowski, 48, was riding a 2016 BMW motorcycle eastb...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Three people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the people arrived at a house in Childs Park, on the 41...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Authorities find

Authorities find "inmate" who walked away from Bilirakis event

The 23-year-old man who authorities said walked away from a New Port Richey political event while under supervision of a treatment center on Saturday has been located.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office described Nicholas Moore, 23, as both an "inmate"...
Published: 06/23/18
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Published: 06/23/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Published: 06/22/18
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Published: 06/22/18
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Published: 06/22/18
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Published: 06/22/18
A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

PORT RICHEY — A 41-year-old Uber driver was arrested Friday after police said he pointed a firearm at another driver because he was annoyed that she was texting and driving.Philip Macchio was driving near State Road 52 and U.S. 19 around 12:30 a.m. F...
Published: 06/22/18
Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

A 28-year-old cheerleading coach faces charges for engaging in "inappropriate behavior" with a 16-year-old girl, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Victor Martin Valenty faces 10 counts of traveling to meet a minor, distributing ob...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18