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Beach tourist killed crossing busy street

An 80-year-old woman trying to weave her way through rush-hour traffic leaving Clearwater Beach on Thursday was hit by a car and later died.

Elizabeth Hebb of Nova Scotia was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center after the 8 a.m. accident. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said Hebb, who was staying at the Tropicana Resort on Clearwater Beach, was walking across Causeway Boulevard when the accident happened.

Three lanes of eastbound traffic headed across Causeway Boulevard. Shelor said Hebb walked north across one lane of traffic.

As she got into the second lane, he said, she was hit by a 1997 Mercury driven by Matthew Michael, of Liverpool, N.Y.

"He had stopped at a light several hundred feet away," Shelor said. "He had come around a turn there and said he didn't see her."

It had not been determined who had the right of way. No charges had been filed Thursday, and the investigation is continuing.

"She was a sweet lady," said John Conti, the owner of Tropicana Resort. "She'll be very sadly missed."

He said Hebb had been coming to the Tropicana Resort on and off for eight years, staying six weeks at a time. She arrived in Clearwater a month ago but had just returned Thursday from a short trip.

"She was a very, very active lady," Conti said. "She was very self-reliant. She wasn't one of those little old ladies who had to have her hand held. I thought she would live to be 200."

Hebb's husband died four years and she has two children, he said. They do not live in the area.

Shelor said Hebb was not in a crosswalk when the accident happened. She was walking across a T-intersection formed by Causeway Boulevard and East Shore Drive, which is east of the traffic signal where Michael stopped.

Marian Scorza, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman in Tampa, said the agency would not discuss whether there have been complaints about dangers to pedestrians where the accident happened.

The department wants to review the accident report before commenting, she said.

_ Times staff writer Anita Kumar contributed to this report.