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Student's death hits school hard

Lonnie Mann Jr. was not one of Middleton High School's most active or well-known students, but 18 of his peers went to grief counselors Friday after Principal Henry Washington announced that the school had lost one of its own.

School district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said the school observed a moment of silence in honor of Mann, who died late Thursday in a three-car crash on Hillsborough Avenue in east Tampa.

The crash near 36th Street also sent Mann's friend and the passengers of two other vehicles to two Tampa hospitals, Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin said.

Mann, 18, of 3807 E Cayuga St., was the front-seat passenger in friend Maurice Garrett's white 1986 Chevrolet Nova.

The car, headed east, crossed from the middle lane of Hillsborough into the left lane at 9 p.m., clipping an eastbound 2001 Chevrolet pickup driven by 59-year-old Ernest Thomas, Durkin said.

The Nova then slid into oncoming westbound traffic, where a red 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix struck it broadside, Durkin said.

The Pontiac driver, 29-year-old Tina Kiebler, had her 8-year-old son in the car with her at the time.

Mann, who worked at the Centro Ybor movie theater and was set to graduate from Middleton in June, died.

The four survivors of the crash were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Garrett, 18, is in fair condition at Tampa General Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Ellen Fiss.

Thomas was released Friday night from St. Joseph's. Kiebler and her son Marcus also were treated and released, said hospital spokesman Will Darnall.

The accident is still under investigation; no charges have been filed.

Mann's mother, Janice Girven, was at the crash scene Thursday night. She cried as she said her son had gone to pick up his friend at St. Joseph's Hospital, where the friend worked.

Cobbe said the family is still finalizing funeral arrangements.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or