Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Suspect arrested in U.S. 19 crash that killed two

CLEARWATER — Police have arrested the man they say is responsible for an eight-vehicle crash that left two people dead on U.S. 19 last weekend.

Daniel Barga, 27, of 7121 Seventh Ave. N in St. Petersburg, was arrested Thursday on charges including driving without a valid driver's license causing death, driving without a valid driver's license causing serious injury and possession of Roxicodone.

Police say Barga was behind the wheel of a Chevy Avalanche when it crashed into several other vehicles about 6:30 p.m. Saturday on U.S. 19 near Nursery Road.

The Avalanche was speeding and changing lanes when it approached stopped traffic and struck three cars, including a Scion with two male passengers.

Those men, Richard Kelly of Odessa, whose age was unavailable, and Jancarlos Alberto Schaffer, 22, of Hillsborough County, were killed.

After hitting the Scion, the Avalanche triggered another three-vehicle crash before striking an eighth vehicle, police said. Seven other people were hospitalized.

Barga, who also was injured, initially told authorities he was the passenger of the vehicle, and was taken to a hospital. Police began looking for the driver, who they believed had fled on foot.

"Investigators developed information that he (Barga) was in fact the driver of the vehicle rather than the passenger," said Elizabeth Watts, the city's public safety spokeswoman.

They also found out that he'd borrowed the car from a friend, she said.

Barga was released from the hospital Wednesday and was taken into custody Thursday, Watts said. He was being held on $55,000 bail Thursday night.

Additional charges are pending forensic and lab tests, Watts said.

Barga has a criminal record that includes previous charges of driving with a suspended license and drug possession.

Court records list him as a habitual traffic offender. Since 1999, he has been cited or arrested on 22 traffic infractions — including multiple charges of speeding and running lights or stop signs.

At the time of the crash Saturday, he was out on bail awaiting trial on a charge of possession of Xanax, an antianxiety drug.

Suspect arrested in U.S. 19 crash that killed two 06/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 25, 2010 1:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]