Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three people killed in Pasco crash

TRINITY — For most of last year, Nicholas Plank couldn't drive his cherry red, convertible BMW because his license was suspended.

On Thursday, the 21-year-old got it back.

Barely two days later, he was driving it in the darkness on State Road 54 when he collided head-on with another vehicle.

Plank died at the scene early Saturday morning, as did his friend and passenger, Derek Giles, 17. Both were from Palm Harbor.

The driver of the other vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, also died. Dorly Kelly, 36, of New Port Richey, was wearing a medical uniform, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Kelly's husband, Edward, answered their home phone crying. He is 70 years old.

"I thought I would have been gone first," he said, sobbing, and hung up the phone.

Plank was traveling above the posted speed limit of 55 mph heading west toward Duck Slough Boulevard when he lost control of the BMW, troopers said.

Investigators concluded he swerved to the right and then overcorrected, veering left before crashing over the median and into the path of the Jeep going the opposite direction.

They hit head-on. It was 5 a.m.

"Even if he's going speed limit, that's a 110-mile an hour impact," said Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins about the deadly collision. "That kind of speed and that kind of impact, there's not a lot you can do."

As the sun rose, troopers found skid marks stretching hundreds of feet.

Troopers were investigating what caused Plank to lose control. They believe the BMW's excessive speed was a chief factor, Gaskins said.

Blood from both drivers was being tested for alcohol and drugs, as is routine fatal accidents. The road condition was clear, he said, with very little other traffic, if any at all.

Kelly was wearing a seat belt and going the speed limit, Gaskins said. Plank and Giles were not buckled up.

Plank's license was suspended in April for financial responsibility, which usually indicates a problem with car insurance, Gaskins said. Records show it was reinstated on Thursday.

Plank has received several traffic citations, including speeding and driving with a suspended license. He got a ticket in 2006 for going 46 mph in a 30 mph zone. In 2007, he was cited for going 57 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Troopers were still trying to determine Saturday where the victims had been before the crash and where they were headed.

Gaskins said troopers presumed Kelly was on her way to work because of her dress.

Friends said they didn't know what the young men were doing Saturday morning. But on Friday night, Giles had sent a text message to a friend and her cousin Aliesha Aguilar, 19. He said he was bored and wanted to see them.

But they were at the Pier in St. Petersburg, and didn't want to drive to Palm Harbor to pick him up.

"This morning I just keep thinking, I would have made sure he got home safe," said Aguilar, a senior who went to school with him at Pinellas Park High.

Giles was looking forward to enlisting in the Army as soon as he graduated this spring, friends said. He had already completed some training, his friends said. He loved to say he was "Army strong."

"He walked with his head up high. He was so proud of what he did," Aguilar said.

She said he acted like a protective older brother to his friends and urged them to stay in school.

Giles knew Plank through mutual friends at Publix, where Plank worked in the deli, said co-worker and friend Mike Wiseley, 21, of Palm Harbor.

Plank, whom Wiseley described as honest and hard working, had just started driving the BMW again. He had repairs done and worked out problems with his license, Wiseley said.

"He bought that thing himself," Wiseley said. "He was way proud of that car. He loved it."

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609. Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

Three people killed in Pasco crash 01/10/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mexico anxiously awaits the fate of a 12-year-old schoolgirl after deadly earthquake

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A sprawling earthquake recovery effort spanning several states turned intensely personal Thursday as Mexicans were riveted by an effort to save a 12-year-old girl who was pinned in the rubble of her elementary school.

    Search and rescue efforts continue at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico, Thursday. Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake has stunned central Mexico, killing more than 200 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. ]AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell]
  2. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week

    Blogs

    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  3. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings

    Bucs

    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham

    Blogs

    The Rays open their final roadtrip of the season tonight in Baltimore, and - continuing the theme of the week - willl cross paths with another familiar face, INF Tim Beckham.

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.