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Truck hits, kills woman holding "homeless" sign outside Indian Rocks Shopping Center

LARGO — She was standing about 10 feet away, clutching a sign Tampa Bay drivers know by heart.

Homeless, it read.

Jeff Gurney, 42, briefly made eye contact with her as he maneuvered his car past the shopping center entrance where she was standing.

An instant later, he heard a crash.

He saw dirt and debris and stop signs fly in the air. The woman he had just seen hit the pavement.

Misty D. Jones, 35, had just been struck by a truck that, police said, lost control Monday afternoon. She died at the scene.

"I've never in my life seen anything like this," Gurney said. "It would have shaken anyone."

Police said Jones was standing near the entrance of the Indian Rocks Shopping Center at 12022 Indian Rocks Road about 4:40 p.m. Monday.

Sean M. Saur, 34, was northbound on Indian Rocks Road when he lost control of the truck, police said.

He crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic, hopped the curb, drove over the sidewalk, through some bushes and slammed into two stop signs and Jones, said Largo police Sgt. George Edmiston.

Police are investigating whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash. No charges had been filed Tuesday afternoon.

Saur has an active Florida driver's license, but has several past infractions. He has lost his license five times, including twice for traffic-related offenses, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. He was labeled a habitual traffic offender in 2000.

The crash stunned Gurney, who moved to Indian Rocks Beach from Detroit about eight months ago.

"It was horrible," he said. "It freaked me out."

He said he got out of the car as soon as he saw the crash. A couple of people in scrubs were already trying to help.

Gurney called 911 but said there wasn't much anyone could do. "She was dead instantly," he said.

"I've never seen anything so horrific," he said. "I've been a mess ever since."

Truck hits, kills woman holding "homeless" sign outside Indian Rocks Shopping Center 07/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:32am]
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