Thursday, December 14, 2017


Josh Solomon, Times staff writer

Josh Solomon, Times staff writer

Josh Solomon covers the police and court beats in Pasco and Hernando counties for the Tampa Bay Times. Before joining the Times in 2014, Josh graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He grew up in northern New Jersey.

St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Jim Previtera at a news conference this summer. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]

St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will...
Published: 12/12/17
Victor Karl Valdez Jr., 33, faces three counts of manslaughter and one count each of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury and resisting an officer without violence, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. He was being held in the Pasco County jail in lieu of $176,500 bail. [Photo courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]

Year after Christmas Eve tragedy, driver faces three counts of manslaughter

SPRING HILL — Christmas Eve took from three families last year. A Jeep sport-utility vehicle struck a golf cart early that morning killing three of the four people riding in it, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Finally, nearly a year...
Published: 12/05/17
Hurricane Irma moves towards the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm in the Caribbean Sea Sept. 8. Scientists say that a perfect mix of meteorological conditions conspired to make the storm unusually large and powerful. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via the New York Times]

So long, 2017 hurricane season, and good riddance

Six months ago, forecasters predicted the 2017 hurricane season would be just below average.They were wrong.The season, which ends today, far exceeded expectations, delivering three landmark storms to the United States and...
Published: 11/30/17
David Sommer, 60, of Safety Harbor and a longtime Tampa Tribune courts reporter, was killed in June, according to deputies. [Courtesy of Fred Bellet]

Recalling a life cut short: Tampa Tribune reporter David Sommer

David Sommer spent two decades covering the crime and courts beat for the Tampa Tribune, reporting on cases across Tampa Bay.In June, the journalist was found dead at the age of 60. Four months later, Pinellas sheriff’s detectives arrested a...
Updated one month ago
After his Major League career, Roy Halladay took to coaching. Here Halladay, center, the pitching coach for Calvary Christian, joins Graham Hoffman (8), left, and Nolan Hudi (14), right, moments after winning a region baseball semifinal game in May against Trinity Prep in Clearwater. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

NTSB report details steep turns and dives preceding Roy Halladay’s fatal crash

Before he crashed, Roy Halladay flew within 75 feet of houses and skimmed the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report published Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.The report, which did not address the cause of the...
Updated one month ago
Adam Matos, left, is accused in the brutal 2014 slayings of four people in Hudson. At right is defense attorney Catherine Garrett. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]

Adam Matos claims self-defense, says ‘paranoia’ led to brutal Hudson quadruple-homicide

Deputies followed the smell to the bodies, stacked four high on a hill in Hudson. The victims had been killed at a nearby home on Hatteras Drive, where investigators found blood stains and evidence of a slaughter.But for three years, no one...
Updated one month ago
David Scott, owner of St. Petersburg-based web design firm Cosmic Digital Design, cut ties with a contract worker in March. Later that day, he discovered, someone had deleted 13 websites the company built, costing Cosmic Digitial $277,000 in lost product. [LARA CERRI   |  Times]

Websites vanish, tipping St. Petersburg business to crime from the inside

ST. PETERSBURG — David Scott decided he had to cut ties with one of his contract workers.A Web developer, the man was proving unreliable, said Scott, owner of the small St. Petersburg-based Web design and marketing company Cosmic Digital...
Updated one month ago
The St. Petersburg Police Department's current building at 1300 First Ave. N. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]

St. Pete police employee fired after personal rifle ‘accidentally’ fired inside HQ

ST. PETERSBURG — Scott Hughes, a St. Petersburg police forensic technician, wasn’t allowed to bring his personal Colt AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into headquarters. Nevertheless, the civilian employee did so for years, according to the...
Updated one month ago
Authorities said pilot Manuel Izquierdo ran out of fuel before he crashed at 18th Avenue S and 16th Street. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Running on empty: plane ran out of fuel before landing on St. Petersburg road

ST. PETERSBURG — The pilot who landed on a city street on Oct. 18 told air traffic controllers he was nearly out of fuel only minutes after takeoff.Pilot Manuel Izquierdo, 36, radioed air traffic controllers that he was "fuel critical" and had...
Updated one month ago
Patrick Charles Hannon is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. [Florida Department of Corrections]

Victim’s relative waves goodbye as Patrick Hannon executed

STARKE — Patrick Charles Hannon helped execute two Tampa men 26 years ago. He slashed one man’s throat and shot another man six times in the chest in 1991.The state of Florida executed him for those crimes on Wednesday night.Hannon was...
Updated one month ago