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Witnesses describe vehicle that struck St. Petersburg woman's wheelchair

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have a description of the vehicle they believe ran down a 55-year-old woman in her motorized wheelchair in December.

Now investigators need the public's help finding that vehicle and whoever was inside when Shirley Anne Lavine was critically injured while crossing 16th Street S.

According to St. Petersburg police, two witnesses who recently came forward said the suspect vehicle was a full-sized SUV, possibly a Ford Expedition or similar type of vehicle.

It was black or dark blue. The windows were covered with dark tint, so the witnesses could not see who was inside or how many people were inside.

The witnesses told police the SUV didn't slow down before it struck the victim the night of Dec. 8 — or after the collision.

Police believe this could be a case of a distracted or impaired driver. Lavine was in the crosswalk, in a well-lit area, and even had a flashlight with her. But the victim was struck by the front end of the vehicle as she reached the middle of the two southbound lanes. That could mean the suspect vehicle was straddling the two lanes.

The victim remains in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center.

St. Petersburg police are asking anyone with information to call them at (727) 893-7780. They can also call the anonymous tips line at (727) 892-5000 or anonymously text police at (727) 420-8911.

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Witnesses describe vehicle that struck St. Petersburg woman's wheelchair 01/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 4:37pm]
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