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Woman's death at corner prompts neighbors to act

A wreath decorated with red and white flowers and heart-shaped foil paper hangs high on a utility pole at Florida and Powhatan avenues.

It marks the spot where Flora Revesz lost her life on Valentine's Day.

Revesz, 31, had just dropped off her college classmate and car pool buddy, Elena Massimini, at her Powhatan Avenue apartment. Revesz was headed home to her fiance and surprise gifts of roses, chocolate candy and flower petals strewn across the floor.

But a left turn onto Florida Avenue proved fatal.

Revesz pulled her Toyota Corolla into the path of a Mazda pickup traveling north on Florida Avenue, according to the Tampa Police Department. She later died at St. Joseph's Hospital.

News of her death has prompted Old Seminole Heights residents to call for immediate changes along Florida. For years, the residents said, they've complained about high fences and car lots that obstruct drivers' views.

"It's a dangerous situation both for pedestrians and for anyone trying to pull out from the city road into the FDOT road, Florida," said Randy Baron, president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. "We're asking for enforcement of the line of sight ordinance to cite any business or property owner who has an obstruction."

The Florida Department of Transportation runs Florida Avenue, a bustling four-lane road bordered by several used car lots.

Though sympathetic, state officials said there is little they can do to improve the road.

"The DOT's hands are really tied at this point because the fencing issue is on private property," said Kris Carson, a DOT spokeswoman. "Unfortunately, there's not much we can do."

City transportation officials researched the intersection and found that only four accidents occurred at the site in the past three years.

"We didn't declare the intersection unduly hazardous based upon the accident experience or the details surrounding the accident," said Roy LaMotte, Tampa's transportation manager. "The city still finds it a very tragic situation."

For now, improvements along Florida Avenue will fall to city code enforcement officials. This week, inspectors fanned out along Florida Avenue and ordered property owners who violate code to remove anything parked or located within 10 to 12 feet of intersections.

Code enforcement officials also said they have ordered the removal of signs and banners that obstruct sight lines.

For now, the neighborhood remembers Revesz. Her funeral was Monday near her parents' home in Sylvania, Ga. On Saturday, on what would have been her 32nd birthday, friends and family in Tampa will hold a memorial service at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church Disciples of Christ at 350 S Hyde Park Ave.

They will likely talk about her love for movies, the band Mazzy Star and Starbucks.

Massimini can't help thinking about the intersection.

"Maybe if they change it, if they make it safe, maybe I'll drive down it again," she said.

"Hopefully, something good will come out of this. It won't bring her back but maybe it will prevent (accidents) in the future."

Sherri Day can be reached at sday@sppimes.com or 226-3405.

Up next:ABCs of Life

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