Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Parents say Highway Patrol failed in investigating their son's 1998 death

TAMPA — More than 10 years after their son died on Interstate 275 after a roadside brawl, Hugh and Jill McGinley have taken their anger to court.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Pinellas County Circuit Court, the McGinleys accuse the state of Florida and Florida Highway Patrol of knowingly failing to properly investigate how their youngest boy died.

They also claim State Attorney Mark Ober ignored evidence that Highway Patrol's investigation was seriously flawed. All three defendants, the lawsuit says, violated the McGinleys' constitutional rights and protections.

Kevin McGinley, 21, died in the early morning hours of Feb. 13, 1998, after a night out with friends in Ybor City.

The Highway Patrol concluded he was hit by a UPS truck after he wandered into traffic following a fight at the side of southbound I-275 near the Howard-Armenia exit.

His parents, however, believe Kevin was intentionally pushed into the path of the truck by another young man. The Indian Shores couple has spent 10 years and more than a half-million dollars collecting evidence to refute the official findings.

"The lawsuit is basically our effort to get them to do what they're required to do by law," Hugh McGinley said "It's also very disheartening and very sad that it's necessary."

In March, the St. Petersburg Times highlighted a number of disparities between the Highway Patrol's investigation into Kevin's death and evidence collected by the McGinleys over the years.

Hugh McGinley said he has shared the same evidence with state agencies, including Gov. Charlie Crist's office, to no avail.

The lawsuit alleges that the Highway Patrol's explanation of the death was inconsistent with evidence and eyewitness statements; and the patrol intimidated witnesses, misrepresented and fabricated facts, and "knowingly filed false reports."

Though Ober undertook an independent investigation, the lawsuit says, he continued to insist the investigation was accurate. He let Highway Patrol investigators and investigators from his office give "false testimony and inaccurate information" to a committee charged with deciding whether to pursue a criminal case in Kevin's death.

Reached by phone Monday, Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said she was not aware the McGinleys had filed the lawsuit. A Highway Patrol spokesman could not be reached late Monday.

Represented by attorney Tom Reynolds of St. Petersburg, the McGinleys seek a jury trial and damages of more than $30,000.

>>Fast facts

For more

To see the Times' interactive special report about the Kevin McGinley death investigation, go to

Parents say Highway Patrol failed in investigating their son's 1998 death 11/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 4:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]