Make us your home page

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 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

  1. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  2. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  3. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  4. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]
  5. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    In their third year with pitching coach Neil Allen, the Twins have been one of the surprises of the American League.