12/24/12 Human Interest
CLEARWATER BEACH — Resting on his balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Frank Hall let the warm Florida air envelop him. He sat back in his chair, feet raised, and inhaled salty mist from the waves.
Hall hadn't felt right in days. Air struggled through his stuffy nose. Coughs rattled in his chest. Blisters on his feet still burned.
A Red Cross volunteer, Hall had just returned from two weeks of aiding victims of Superstorm Sandy. ...
BRANDON — A 29-year-old driver was arrested early Thursday after he hit a skateboarder and left the scene of the crash without helping the injured man or calling 911, investigators said.
The driver, Ronald Cineas, 29, of Brandon, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injury and driving with a suspended license.
He remains in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $4,000 bail....
RUSKIN — A pedestrian was killed while crossing the street early Thursday, officials said.
The pedestrian, who was not immediately identified, was crossing U.S. 41 near the intersection of Nundy Avenue about 6:43 a.m.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pedestrian did not use a crosswalk.
Jose Martin Flores-Lainez, 23, was driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass south on U.S. 41 when the pedestrian darted out in front of his car, officials said....
TAMPA — An 18-year-old man remained in critical condition after he was shot in the head while sitting in the front seat of a car late Monday, police said.
Lonnie Bernard Henderson, 18, had been sitting in the passenger seat of a car stopped at N 18th Street and E 25th Avenue about 10:15 p.m. when he began to talk to someone standing outside the vehicle, officials said.
As he was talking, police said, gunfire cut through the night. A bullet struck Henderson in his head....
BRANDON — Authorities are seeking the public's help in identifying a man whom they believe has stolen four video game systems, worth thousands of dollars, in three trips to the same store.
The thefts, which all occurred at the Kmart at 1602 W Brandon Blvd., began on Nov. 9, deputies said.
On that day, just after 5 p.m., the suspected thief entered the store and asked for an Xbox 360 from the clerk. While the clerk was distracted, the man took the Xbox from the register and walked out of the Kmart through the home and garden section of the store, officials said....
TAMPA — A church bus caught fire Monday morning after crashing into the shoulder wall on Interstate 4, officials said.
No passengers were in the bus at the time, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
It appeared the driver, Martin Rufus Silas Jr., suffered a medical emergency just after 11 a.m., causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
He veered to the left and then to the right. The bus collided with a crash attenuator at the entrance ramp to the Department of Transportation weigh station, where it appeared to jump the wall. ...
The tropics are quiet as another hurricane season drew to a close Friday.
Although millions in New York and New Jersey are still recuperating from Hurricane Sandy's assault on the Northeast, the Sunshine State was spared again.
It's been a record seven years since a hurricane hit Florida.
National Hurricane Center forecasters, who had predicted 12 to 17 named storms this season, noted that most of the 19 storms avoided the United States altogether....
ST. PETERSBURG — A 20-year-old man died early Friday after he refused to get out of the street, officials said.
A 2007 Infinity, driven by Jason Hawkins, 41, of Georgia, was headed south on Fourth Street in the outer lane about 1:30 a.m.
John Vincent Sullo, 20, was walking nearby along the curb in the 10600 block. He had just been stopped by a Tampa Police officer, who asked him to get out of the street and into "a position of safety," officials said....
ST. PETERSBURG — A 52-year-old man has been charged with trying to kill his wife with a shotgun on Thanksgiving.
Michael Eugene Thomas was charged with attempted murder. He was arrested about 4 p.m. Thanksgiving day at his home, 3131 24th Street N.
According to police, Thomas fired a pump-action shotgun at Lauri Thomas at their home. She was able to push the gun away from her body as her husband pulled the trigger. She was not injured....
As the 2012 hurricane season draws to a close, it appears Florida once again will escape a major storm's landfall.
And the news gets better.
El Niño, the weather phenomenon that suppresses hurricanes but usually brings severe winters to Florida, never really developed. That could be a good sign for the next few months, weather experts say.
Technically, hurricane season ends Nov. 30. But with no storms brewing in the Atlantic basin, it's unlikely a tropical system will threaten the United States before then....
TAMPA — A dozen Black Friday shoppers lay in wait, kicked back in multicolored lawn chairs and sprawled out on air mattresses outside the electronics store.
They have been there for the better part of a week, but these committed customers are hardly roughing it.
Some watch flat-screen television inside their tent. Some play video games or listen to music on state-of-the-art headphones. One man conducts his technical support business straight out of his tent on a laptop computer....
TAMPA — Dorice Donegan "DeeDee" Moore, accused of killing lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare in 2009, was found competent Monday to stand trial.
"The court is convinced that she indeed meets the statutory requirement for competency," said Judge Emmett Lamar Battles. "She has sufficient rational understanding."
Dr. Richard Carpenter had testified that his hour-long evaluation of Moore this month and found that she shows signs of major depression disorder and a mild symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder....
More Americans are expected to travel during Thanksgiving this week than last year, with most people hitting the roads, according to a AAA report.
Last year, 43.3 million Americans traveled during the holiday. The number is expected to jump slightly this year to 43.6 million Americans who will take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Wednesday — expected to be the busiest day this week — and Sunday....
CLEARWATER — A McMullen Booth Elementary School bus collided with two other vehicles after its driver suffered a medical emergency behind the wheel early Friday, police said.
Driver Stephen Sandford, 60, suffered a medical emergency as he was driving the bus west on Sunset Point Road at a low rate of speed about 8:20 a.m., officials said.
The bus crashed into a white Kia Sportage and then rolled into a Toyota Camry....
RIVERVIEW — Andrea Bower had perfect attendance, but on Friday she missed the bus.
Andrea, 13 years old and an eighth-grader at Giunta Middle School, usually catches school bus No. 4074 in the morning on the south side of Bloomingdale Avenue at Buckhorn Springs Road.
Knowing that the bus would soon swing around to the north side of Bloomingdale to pick up students directly across the street, Andrea darted across the road about 8:30 a.m....