Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Saying 'I'm gonna haunt you,' man jumps to death from Sunshine Skyway

Robert Bingel was out of work and had few possessions. His live-in girlfriend told him he would have to find a new place to live. They were finished.

So on Saturday night, Bingel, 58, wrote his girlfriend a note and left it in the mailbox. "I'm gonna haunt you for the rest of your life," he wrote.

Then he set fire to their Seminole home, drove her golden Cadillac to the top of the Sunshine Skyway, crossed two lanes of traffic and jumped to his death, authorities said.

A passer-by called 911 around midnight.

His body was found about 500 yards from the bridge. Florida Highway Patrol troopers found a wallet and a note on the dashboard of the Cadillac.

Firefighters were putting out the blaze he started at the home at 8591 Forsyth Drive when Bingel's girlfriend, Dawn Abbott, 51, arrived at 2:15 a.m.

It was almost 3 a.m. when Bingel's brother Floyd got a call from Abbott looking for him.

Police already had told Bingel his brother was dead, and when he broke the news to Abbot, she got hysterical, he said. Their relationship was confrontational throughout the 20 or so years they lived together, but on Sunday she still said she loved him.

"And that's why she put up with him all of those years," Bingel said. Their arguments grew worse last week when Abbott lost her job, said Bingel.

His brother used to paint cars at auto repair stores, but for some reason stopped a couple of years ago. He'd awake around noon and spend all day on the computer.

Bingel said Abbott worked as a supervisor at Bic, the pen company, but broke her foot a few months ago.

Spending more time together put more stress on the relationship. When she lost her job, Abbot said, she couldn't afford to stay in the house, Bingel said, so she planned to rent it out in July and move in with friends.

"He was being evicted, basically," Bingel said. "Maybe this was the final straw before he had nothing left."

Bingel described his brother as quiet. They kept in touch through e-mail. He said his brother had few possessions.

He was the second person last week to jump from the Skyway, the fifth this year. An unidentified man jumped Thursday but survived the 200-foot plunge.

More than 130 people have died jumping from the bridge since it opened in 1987.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Ileana Morales can be reached at (813)226-3386 or imorales@sptimes.com.

Saying 'I'm gonna haunt you,' man jumps to death from Sunshine Skyway 05/10/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Charles Bradley, acclaimed Florida soul singer, dies at 68

    Blogs

    Acclaimed Florida R&B powerhouse Charles Bradley, whose raw, pained voice earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle of Soul, has died of cancer at 68, his representatives announced Saturday.

    Charles Bradley performed at the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival.