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Woman injured in crash dies one day after she is released from hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Sean Simpson got a phone call Wednesday evening that he thought was good news.

His mother, Sheila Simpson, was being discharged from Bayfront Medical Center.

She had been there since Oct. 12, the day a car collided with her scooter at an intersection in Seminole.

But just hours later, the 53-year-old was back at Bayfront. The next day she was dead.

Her family is seeking answers.

"She died right there in front of me," Sean Simpson, 23, said. "To be honest, with a serious head injury. … I figured she would have been in the hospital at least a month, (but) I figured if the hospital released her, she was well enough to be at home."

The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office said a cause of death is still being determined.

Hospital officials said they could not comment because of medical privacy laws.

Authorities said Sheila Simpson was driving an Astro scooter west on Bay Pines Boulevard at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 when she collided with a 1989 Plymouth Acclaim. Deputies said the eastbound sedan was making a left onto 94th Street in Seminole in front of Simpson at the time.

The vehicle's driver, John Ferrante, 81, of St. Petersburg, was not hurt.

Sheila Simpson had several injuries, her family said, including a head injury, a crushed pelvis, broken shoulder and ribs, and burns from being dragged underneath Ferrante's car.

She did not have health insurance, family members said.

Her former brother-in-law, Lyman Shepard, visited her at Bayfront a week before she died.

"She was beat up," he said. "She had a huge scrap of skin off her arm. Her head was busted up. She was in a lot of pain."

About 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, doctors determined she could go home, said Tom Olson, her roommate and good friend. He said the pair arrived at their Seminole home shortly after 6 p.m. He went outside to unload the car.

"When I came back in to check on her she was passed out, unconscious," Olson said. "No pulse. No breathing."

Olson said 911 operators talked him through CPR. Records show Seminole Fire Rescue arrived at 6:46 p.m.

Family members said she was taken to St. Petersburg General Hospital, then back to Bayfront.

She died at 12:55 p.m. Thursday, the Medical Examiner's Office said.

"It seems to me there's something terribly wrong," Shepard said. "I just want somebody to look into it. … I'm at a loss really."

He said Sheila Simpson didn't live a perfect life, but that her death was "tragic."

Records show she spent time in prison on charges of cocaine possession and credit card fraud.

Her son said she'd been clean for a few years. Ten months ago, she became a grandmother.

"We were more like best friends than mom and son," he said. "She was a good mom."

Detectives are still investigating the crash that initially sent Simpson to the hospital, said Sgt. Tom Nestor, spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at or (727) 893-8643.

Woman injured in crash dies one day after she is released from hospital 10/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 11:09pm]
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