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Neighbors stunned by roommates' deaths

Kevin Knox was on his way home to the Village Apartments Wednesday afternoon when he heard a radio report about two women being killed in a car accident in Tampa.

He didn't give it much thought. There was no reason he should.

Then he arrived home and started talking with some friends.

They told Knox the two women were April M. Wynn and Ruth A. Korpol _ their neighbors in the small apartment community just off U.S. 41.

"I can't believe it. I just can't believe it," a stunned Knox said Wednesday. "I've got two little girls who are always over there playing with April."

According to Tampa Police reports, Wynn, 21, and Korpel, 22, were driving north on N Florida Avenue at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday when Wynn's 1992 red Nissan pickup truck ran through a large puddle of water.

She lost control of the truck and skidded off the road, slamming into a utility pole.

Both women were wearing seat belts, authorities said, but it didn't help. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

"It does appear that alcohol was involved," Tampa police spokesman Steve Cole said. "There were some alcoholic beverages in the vehicle."

He said the results of blood alcohol tests won't be available for some time.

The accident occurred on a portion of N Florida Avenue that is just south of Fowler Avenue. Police reports didn't say where Wynn and Korpol were coming from when the wreck occurred.

Their neighbors at Land O'Lakes Village didn't know, either. They said the two girls were roommates, although police reports gave two different addresses at the same apartment complex for them.

Residents said Wynn had lived there for more than a year, and that Korpol had moved in with her a while ago.

They knew Wynn better, and even those who didn't know her well were saddened to hear about the "girl always in that little red truck."

"She was so friendly," said Aulvia Santiago, who lives upstairs from the two women. "So sociable."

At the Handy Mart on U.S. 41 where Wynn had worked until a few weeks ago, customers were calling and coming in all day to express their sympathy and shock, said Martha Westbrook, her former boss there.

"She was loved by everybody who came in here," Westbrook said. "She was really a terrific person."

Westbrook described Wynn and Korpol as inseparable, saying, "Everywhere April went, Ruth was with her. Everywhere you saw one, you saw the other."

In the last few weeks, Wynn and Korpol worked at a Subway shop not far from their apartment complex.

A wreath of spring flowers hung crookedly outside the shop's door Wednesday afternoon.

"In Memory, Ruth and April."