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Crash claims Tampa student

An 18-year-old Middleton High School student is dead and four other people are injured after a three-car crash Thursday at 36th Street and Hillsborough Avenue.

Lonnie Mann Jr., 18, of 3807 E Cayuga St., a senior at Middleton, was riding in a white Chevrolet Nova being driven by a friend about 9 p.m. when the car crossed into the westbound lane of Hillsborough Avenue, clipping a pickup, said Tampa police Lt. Marc Hamlin.

The car drove into oncoming traffic and was broadsided by a red car going west, driven by a 29-year-old woman, who was accompanied by her 8-year-old son. The mother and son, the 59-year-old truck driver and Mann's friend, also 18, were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. None had life-threatening injuries, Hamlin said.

The names of the other people involved in the accident were not released Thursday night.

Police said it was unclear why the car changed lanes. They said the driver might have been trying to make a U-turn. No charges had been filed, and the accident was still under investigation Thursday night.

Mann's family and friends heard of the accident quickly, and gathered at the scene. They huddled on the sidewalk, weeping. Mann's parents were among those in the crowd.

Mann's mother, Janice Girven, her eyes filled with tears, said her son had gone to pick up his friend at St. Joseph's Hospital where he worked. She said she didn't know where they were going after that.

Mann's aunt, Georgia Mann of Tampa, said he was "a great child" and said he was looking forward to graduating this year.

"He was pretty respectful. He never bothered anybody," she said.

She said he worked at Centro Ybor theaters, and "he always had a smile on his face."