TAMPA — Doug Kozar was working toward a career in law enforcement. Kate Kohlier was about to graduate from college.
Kozar, 23, and Kohlier, 24, both died early Saturday after leaving work at the Marriott Waterside Hotel. A car veered off the road and hit them as they walked across the Harbour Island bridge. Police say a drunken driver is to blame.
Matthew R. Moye, 34, a south Hillsborough dentist, was speeding on the bridge in a black 2001 Cadillac coupe at about 2 a.m. when he hit a curb and spun out of control, according to Tampa police. The southbound car crossed into the bridge's northbound lane and onto the sidewalk. It slid down a guardrail and over several planters while hitting Kozar and Kohlier, police said.
Kohlier was killed instantly. Kozar was pushed over a guardrail and into a planter. He was pronounced dead in an ambulance at the scene.
A third Marriott employee, Joao Armando Fonseca Barbosa, 47, suffered a broken ankle after jumping out of the way of the vehicle. He was treated at Tampa General Hospital.
Police later arrested Moye on two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of DUI manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence with injury.
Moye, his wife Kelly, and another female passenger were temporarily trapped inside the vehicle before a Tampa Fire Rescue crew freed them, police said. No one in the vehicle was injured.
Officers noted the odor of alcohol on Moye's breath, slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Moye refused a breath test, but police took a sample of his blood for testing, records show.
His arrest report says he became combative when police pulled him out of his car. He hit an officer's hand, resulting in an additional charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.
Moye practices at Big Bend Dental on Vail Ridge Drive in Riverview, according to jail records. He was being held Saturday without bond.
A woman who answered the door Saturday morning at Moye's home on S Ferdinand Avenue in Tampa declined to comment.
Moye pleaded no contest on Oct. 21 to a charge of driving 90 mph in a 55 mph zone after being cited by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in August, according to court records. A judge withheld adjudication and ordered Moye to attend advanced defensive driving school by Dec. 20.
Court records also show Moye's driving history includes charges of driving without a seat belt and speeding in two 2005 incidents, speeding in Polk County in 2007, driving without proof of insurance in 2008, and two speeding cases in 2009. The seat belt, insurance, 2005 and March 2009 speeding cases were dismissed. Adjudication was withheld in the August 2009 speeding case, with Moye paying a fine and court costs, records show. He also paid a fine in the Polk County case.
His wife, Kelly, was arrested on a DUI charge in 2009, according to sheriff's records.
Friends and relatives of the victims expressed shock Saturday at the news of their deaths.
"All I can say is she was a great person," said Jose Comparini, a co-worker of Kohlier's. "I lost a good friend and a partner at work."
Kohlier's Facebook page indicates that she graduated from Largo High School in 2004. She was scheduled to graduate from USF in December with a degree in psychology.
Kozar was a graduate of the University of Tampa who came to Florida from Upstate New York to study business, but liked criminal justice better after taking some criminology classes.
After graduating in December 2009, he looked for jobs in security as a first step toward a career in law enforcement, his family said. He found work in the catering department at the Marriott, hoping he could eventually switch to hotel security.
Kozar's girlfriend, Ashley LeBlanc, said he usually parked his car in lots or on the street downtown to avoid having to pay to park in a Harbour Island garage.
"He was a real personable kid," said his father, Russ Kozar, of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. "We were very happy he was working and making his own way."
When he wasn't working, Kozar enjoyed fishing. His father recently mailed him a fishing reel that belonged to Doug's grandfather.
"My wife and I are heartbroken that his life was taken by a drunk driver," Kozar said. "We're also upset he had to walk over the bridge to get there anyway. We wish there had been a shuttle that could have taken them there. That would have saved two lives. But it's easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback."
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3321.