TAMPA — The rain had been coming down all morning Wednesday when Chris Diehl heard the boom.
Sitting with his grandmother in the family room of his parents' South Tampa house, he glanced out the window and saw smoke. He walked outside, where flames were beginning to dance between a fence and the detached garage.
When he stepped off a brick path, a jolt of electricity knocked him over. Less than an hour later, Diehl, 22, was declared dead....
RUSKIN — The Riverview man whose body was found Saturday after he disappeared late last month was ambushed, robbed, beaten and later buried alive, according to an arrest report.
The affidavit detailing the murder case against Javier Bermudez Jr. also suggests that several other people participated in the killing of Octavio Reyes, but an investigation to identify those responsible remains ongoing....
TAMPA — Mishay Simpson was jolted awake in the early hours of Aug. 20 when the alarm system in her Davis Islands home went off. Her husband, Rhett Simpson, was out of town. Alone with her young daughter, she could hear someone running up the stairs outside her bedroom door.
She grabbed a gun. The door opened and a man stood there. When he spoke, she recognized the voice as Andrew Tyler Noll, a man she had accused of stalking her....
09/12/14Crime09/11/14 Human Interest
It was a morning not unlike the one 13 years ago.
The sun blazed from a full blue sky as a crowd of more than 300 people, many in uniform, shielded their eyes from its rays. Before them was the shadow of a steel beam and a stainless steel sculpture representing the firefighters, police and civilians who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The beam, a hunk of iron plucked from the wreckage of World Trade Center Tower 2 in New York City, is the centerpiece of the new Fallen Heroes memorial outside the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Operations Center in Ybor City. The memorial's official dedication Thursday morning also marked the anniversary of the attack....09/11/14 Public Safety
TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has cut ties with the longtime provider of health care services to its jail facilities, awarding a $20 million contract to a new company.
As of Oct. 1, NaphCare, a Birmingham, Ala. company, will provide medical care to inmates in the county's jails on Falkenburg and Orient roads.
NaphCare's bid, awarded Wednesday, means the Sheriff's Office will part ways with Armor Correctional Health Services, which has provided medical care to Hillsborough jail inmates for the past decade....09/10/14Legislature
Decrying what he says is a practice that hurts Florida's most vulnerable citizens, Rep. Darryl Rouson announced this week that he wants to change state laws allowing mentally handicapped criminal defendants to be held without trial.
In response to recent coverage of the issue in the Tampa Bay Times, Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said he will work with fellow lawmakers to "revamp" Florida's criminal statutes as they apply to the mentally disabled....09/10/14 Local Government
TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will no longer jail immigrants who are being investigated for deportation, a policy change that brings the agency in line with other local sheriff's offices.
In letters sent last month to U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said his office will only honor immigration detainer requests if there is a legal order to do so. Sheriffs in Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties have all previously instituted similar policies. ...09/08/14Accidents
TAMPA — Crashes involving wrong-way driving, like the one that left three people dead Sunday, are occurring in the Tampa Bay area at twice the national rate.
Though Sunday morning's crash may have seemed a horrifying aberration, it is the fourth such accident this year on the same stretch of Interstate 275. Federal and state experts say they are at a loss to explain the spate of wrong-way driving crashes, which fits into a broader and disconcerting picture of the region's traffic problems....09/05/14Crime
Megan Brown was afraid of Adam Matos.
He could be obsessive and aggressive. Sometimes he shouted and punched things. Recently he pulled a knife on her, investigators say. She didn't want him around their 4-year-old son.
"I tried to give her a safe haven," said Jim Sigler, who owns the Fisherman's Shack bar in Hudson where Brown worked. "I told her she would be welcome at my house." ...09/04/14Crime
TAMPA — Authorities made an arrest Thursday in the July death of a man who was shot outside a Tampa nightclub.
Calvin Lewis, 50, faces a first-degree murder charge in the killing of Rodrick Randle Alexander, 32, who was shot in the early morning hours of July 14 outside the Sugar Shack at 5110 N 40th St.
Lewis and Alexander got into an argument inside the club about 1:30 a.m., according to Tampa police. The two moved outside, where Lewis shot Alexander, then fled, police said....08/29/14Crime
BARTOW — Dreek Drayton spent nearly a decade locked up because of a crime he says he didn't commit.
He never faced trial. No jury ever convicted him. And ultimately, a judge dismissed the charges against him.
Yet, year after year, state authorities held on to him based largely on allegations from an accuser who would eventually refuse to testify.
Most anyone else would have walked free....08/29/14Accidents
TAMPA — A Tampa water department employee who ran into and killed a toddler with a city truck Thursday night was visiting relatives on the job when the accident happened, a policy violation for which he has previously been disciplined, city officials said.
The driver, Robert Fennell, cooperated with investigators after the accident that killed 2-year-old Demetrick Lindsey at the Tampa Park Apartments. The child's death was being called an accident, police said....08/26/14Crime
PLANT CITY — Orthneil Kelley doesn't remember much about his mother. And for many years, he knew just as little about how she died.
In the snippets of memory he did have, he was 4 years old and alone in their house on Ninth Street in Plant City. He could hear his infant brother crying.
That was in 1979. The relatives who raised him sheltered him from the details. It wasn't until 2006, when Kelley began researching his family history, that he learned his mother's death was Plant City's oldest unsolved homicide....08/22/14Crime
PLANT CITY — A Plant City teenager who was behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle that collided with a car in February, killing the driver, has been charged with DUI manslaughter.
Jennifer Carvajal, 17, was booked into jail Thursday on the manslaughter charge and a count of driving without a valid license resulting in death — both felonies — and held without bail.
The 4-foot-11, 110-pound high school student was driving north in a Lincoln Navigator at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 5 on Alexander Street, according to Plant City police. Keith Davis, 52, was coming off the eastbound exit ramp from Interstate 4 in a four-door Toyota....