TAMPA — More than three years after Robert Niedbalec was hurled from his bicycle by two cars going more than 90 mph on Fletcher Avenue, one of the people responsible for his death sat before a judge Friday and wept into shackled hands.
Lenoy Rivera asked Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles to go easy on him. He spoke of the guilt he has felt since the day Niedbalec died. His family members talked about what a good kid he was, how his role in the 52-year-old's death threw him into depression, how he spoke to portraits of the man he killed, begging him for forgiveness. ...
TAMPA — A DNA match from blood helped police make an arrest in connection with the Feb. 23 death of a man who was attacked and stabbed inside his Tampa home.
Qushawn Williams, 21, was arrested Thursday on a second-degree murder charge stemming from the killing of 51-year-old Juan Ordonez.
Ordonez, whom neighbors knew as "Papi," was killed early Feb. 23 in his home at 1317 W Arch St. in the West Riverfront area of Tampa. ...
03/04/14 Public Safety
BRANDON — Deputies shot and killed a man who went on a violent rampage, stabbing a cat and breaking a window early Tuesday in a Brandon apartment complex, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.
Lew G. Tyree II, 41, was shot at least three times after deputies tried to talk him into dropping a knife, authorities said. He later died at Brandon Regional Hospital.
Neighbors in the apartment complex began calling 911 about 5:30 a.m. to report Tyree carrying a large butcher knife and threatening people with a 20-pound barbell, said Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee. At one point, someone in an apartment near 3117 Bloomingdale Villas Court reported that Tyree was trying to break a front window....
BRANDON — A chase that began in Manatee County ended inside the Westfield Brandon shopping mall Monday after three burglary suspects headed north to Hillsborough County, authorities said.
The pursuit began about noon, when Manatee sheriff's deputies got a call about a burglary in progress in Palmetto. A deputy arrived to find at least two people leaving a house. When the deputy tried to talk to them, they fled in a 2014 Hyundai that had been stolen in Hillsborough County, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said....
PLANT CITY — An argument that began with a bra and panties escalated almost to murder Sunday when a woman stabbed her ex-boyfriend, according to Hillsborough County deputies.
Christina Rene Folsom, 19, was jailed on a charge of attempted third-degree murder after she used a kitchen knife to stab her ex-boyfriend, Dustin Griffin, 26, in his back, an arrest report stated.
The two had dated until recently, when Folsom discovered that Griffin was cheating on her with his ex-wife, officials said....
BRANDON — Ricky Polk was driving through Brandon to his job at a chemical plant early Friday morning when he saw two women on the side of the road, jumping up and down and crying.
Then he felt his car hit something and saw a figure in the rear-view mirror.
"And I said to myself, 'That felt like a body,' " Polk said.
Polk got out of his car and tried to wave the drivers on E Bloomingdale Avenue away from the man. Another driver ran over him before stopping as well. Two more drivers hit the victim, but kept going....
02/27/14 Public Safety
SEFFNER — Janell Wicker stood at her bedroom closet clutching a bundle of laundry and eyeing the dog, Baby Girl, who beckoned to her from the bed. She set the clothes down and cuddled the shepherd-Labrador mix. She told herself she could fold the clothes tomorrow.
Then the floor collapsed.
A noise like a truck slamming into the house jolted her upright. She heard screams. She saw the hardwood splitting and the closet falling into a dark, churning hole....
Motorcyclist remains in critical condition
A motorcyclist who was rescued by a group of bystanders after becoming wedged beneath a car remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition.
Matthew William Watson, 25, was riding a 2003 Kawasaki motorcycle north on Dale Mabry Highway about 10 a.m. Monday when it collided with the back of a 2009 Mazda south of Hamilton Avenue, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Mazda driver, Jashwanti Patel, 72, of Tampa had stopped to let traffic pass when the cycle slammed into his car, officials said. Watson ended up wedged under the Mazda, troopers said. A group of people who saw the crash ran over and pulled Watson out. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa....
ST. PETERSBURG — A man died Monday morning after jumping off the center span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, according to Hillsborough County sheriff's officials.
Craig Crider, 47, of St. Petersburg, drove his car to the top of the bridge about 8:55 a.m. and parked, authorities. He then got out, walked to the rail and jumped over.
Emergency crews searched the waters below the bridge and found Crider's body, officials said. Hillsborough sheriff's deputies were investigating the death as a suicide....
TAMPA — In a span of less than 24 hours, two men were attacked and killed inside their homes in unrelated incidents, leaving Tampa police and Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives looking for two killers.
The first attack happened sometime early Sunday when Juan Ordonez, whom neighbors knew as "Papi," was killed in his home at 1317 W Arch St. in the West Riverfront area of Tampa....
TAMPA — For the second time in as many weeks, a car went the wrong way along a stretch of Interstate 275 in north Tampa, causing a fiery crash as the driver slammed into another vehicle.
It happened early Friday, just 3 miles north of the spot where another wrong-way crash killed five men early on Feb. 9.
This time, only the car's driver, Chase Kaleb Leveille, was killed. The driver and a passenger in the box truck that Leveille ran into had no serious injuries, the Florida Highway Patrol said....
02/20/14 Public Safety
TAMPA — A Tampa police officer shot and wounded a dog Thursday morning that had cornered a group of Robinson High School students and bitten a 14-year-old boy, authorities said.
The dog, described as a white and brindle-colored mixed breed, broke loose from a chain in a yard at 4015 Mango Ave., police said. It wandered to the intersection of Mango and Grady avenues, where it attacked and bit Alen Velic, 14, police said....
ZEPHYRHILLS — State troopers are asking for the public's help solving a hit-and-run from August in which a man was killed in a parking lot.
Dane Cody Prater, 25, was walking across the lot at Zephyrhills Plaza, near State Road 54 and Coats Road, about 12:39 a.m. Aug. 4 when he moved in front of an unidentified blue sport utility vehicle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers believe the SUV was stopped, facing south as Prater approached, then moved forward. The SUV struck Prater, injuring him. He died at the scene. The driver fled....
MANGO — A Brandon man who was thrown from a motorcycle after trying to avoid a collision with a car on Interstate 75 died Monday from his injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Authorities were still looking for the car's driver, who drove away after the wreck happened Sunday afternoon.
Jeffrey Allen Fogel, 46, was riding west about 4:15 p.m. on Interstate 4 on a 2005 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with passenger Gina Michelle Fogel, 43, troopers said. When the pair approached the I-75 interchange, they moved onto an exit ramp, which splits into two lanes to head north or south on I-75....
TAMPA — A fire early Tuesday destroyed one of the popular restaurants that helped propel a recent rejuvenation of Old Seminole Heights.
A caller to 911 reported seeing flames and smoke just before 2 a.m. coming from inside Domani Bistro Lounge at 6421 N Florida Ave., fire officials said. When firefighters arrived, flames engulfed the rear of the building.
The fire, which also badly damaged a furniture store next door, stunned neighborhood residents and business leaders....