TAMPA — A Saturday night accident left two pedestrians dead and a North Carolina mother and daughter distraught.
On Sunday, Florida Highway Patrol troopers had little to report beyond the tragic basic facts:
Two men were crossing State Road 60 near Falkenburg Road and were walking north toward the Hooters and McDonald's restaurants.
Esther Smith-Thomas, 76, was driving east on SR 60 with her 49-year-old daughter, Teresa Thomas-Lemmond, in a Mercury sedan.
It was close to 9 p.m. and dark. Smith-Thomas didn't see the men until the last second. She slammed on her brakes. The men flipped off both sides of her car.
John B. Sapp, 67, of Tampa died immediately in the road. Glenn A. Smith, 46, of Tampa died at Tampa General Hospital shortly after.
Smith-Thomas and Thomas-Lemmond were traveling back home Sunday, said Thomas-Lemmond's husband, Paul.
He said the women, both from Laurinburg, N.C., were in the Tampa area for several days visiting a sick relative.
They were very upset, Paul Lemmond said when reached in Laurinburg, but he didn't want to comment any further until he spoke to them. Smith-Thomas was not charged in the accident.
Hooters manager Charlie Teems saw the scene after the accident and wondered if the victims were among the people he has noticed wandering the streets.
"As far as I know, (the men) weren't customers here that night," he said.
Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins said that the patrol has noticed a rash of pedestrian accidents in the Tampa Bay area in recent months.
Another pedestrian was killed crossing U.S. 19 in Pasco County on Saturday night.
"A large part of the problem is that people need to know there are pedestrian laws that cover crosswalks, walking along a street and things like that," Gaskins said.
He suggested people follow the most basic traffic rule: "You can't just walk out in the road."
Emily Nipps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3431.