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Lawyer shot twice on road

Published Sep. 10, 2005

Moments after a 37-year-old Tampa lawyer fell from the passenger side of a Volkswagen van Tuesday night, she was shot twice by the driver, Tampa police said.

Olga J. Joanow was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital Wednesday. One of the bullets hit her in the chest.

Patricia Ann Banks, 50, of Gibsonton was taken to Orient Road Jail and charged with attempted first-degree murder. She is being held without bail.

Police said Banks and Joanow were going east along Adamo Drive around 11 p.m. when they began to argue. Witnesses saw Banks stop the van in the middle of the road at S 32nd Street and Adamo Drive, reports said. Joanow fell out and Banks leaned out of the passenger side door and shot her with a .38-caliber pistol, police said.

Katie Hughes, Tampa police spokeswoman, said there were no signs that Banks pushed Joanow from the vehicle.

Banks, of 11956 Bullfrog Creek Road, left the van and began walking north on the railroad tracks where she was arrested, police said. "She asked for an attorney when she was apprehended," Hughes said.

Banks has no criminal record in Florida.

Banks had gone to Joanow's house around 10:30 Tuesday night, police said. The two appeared to have had no conflicts when they left Joanow's house, Hughes said.

Police said Banks and Joanow were at one time romantically involved.

"They remained friends," Hughes said. Public records list both as owners of Banks' residence in Gibsonton. They first lived there together in 1997, records show.

Joanow's neighbors said she rented a house in Tampa at 3411 Alline Drive for the past eight months. She raised Pomeranian dogs, they said.

Joanow has worked as an attorney for the University of South Florida since November 1993. She was promoted from assistant to associate general counsel in 1999, according to her personnel file.

"Our office is a small and close-knit office, of which Olga is an integral part," said Noreen Segrest, lead attorney for USF. "She and her family are in the thoughts and prayers of the lawyers and staff of the Office of the General Counsel and the entire USF community."

Joanow worked with the Hillsborough civil service board before joining USF's staff. The board hears appeals from employees with complaints about their employers.

"She was a very popular person here in the office," said Hillsborough County Attorney Emmy Acton. "Being a labor lawyer, she was very gracious and always ensured that everything was done."

Family and friends of Joanow gathered at TGH Wednesday declined comment.

_ Times staff writer Angela Moore and Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.