Sixteen people were displaced from their homes because of three separate fires within seven hours over the weekend across the Tampa Bay area. Saturday night, a fire damaged the home of a Port Richey mother and daughter. An hour later, a Seffner family with children ages 8 and 11 lost their home and belongings in a fire that killed their pets. Both families are staying with friends or relatives, said Abi Weaver, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter, which responded to all three fires. And about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, a fire at the Crosswinds Apartments, 500 110th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, caused 20 people to evacuate,leaving half of them homeless. The Red Cross is putting them up in local hotels until other lodging becomes available, Weaver said.
Motorcycle driver killed in collision
A Pinellas Park man was struck and killed by a taxi late Saturday after police say his motorcycle ran a red light. Mark E. Simpson, 20, was driving his 2005 Yamaha south on Fourth Street N about 10:30 p.m. when he went through a red light at 22nd Avenue N and collided with a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria, police said. The driver of the Ford, a United Cab, was not injured. Simpson was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he died shortly after midnight.
Jurors in mistrial speak to paper
Members of a Lee County jury told a newspaper the group was leaning toward convicting a man charged in a double murder, but at least three jurors did not believe the state had proved its case. The jury deliberated for more than 30 hours in the case of Fred Cooper. But the group decided late Friday they couldn't agree on a verdict and the judge declared a mistrial. Three jurors talked with the News-Press in Fort Myers after the mistrial. Cooper was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed burglary. The murders of Steven and Michelle Andrews received nationwide attention because the couple's 2-year-old son was heard on a 911 call that sent sheriff's deputies to the house.
Key West tattoo artist seeks record
A Key West tattoo artist will try to break the world record for the most tattoos in a 24-hour period. The current record is 415 tattoos. To break it, John Paul Bertrand and other tattoo artists at Key West Ink will give away free tattoos starting at 2 p.m. Thursday. Shop owner Jim McAlhany says that it's a perfect time to try to break the record because a lot of people are in town for Fantasy Fest, an annual 10-day festival. Bertrand must complete a tattoo about every three minutes to challenge the record. To do that, the shop will pre-stencil tattoos on waiting patrons. The current record is held by Oliver Peck of Dallas.
Sixth-grader dies trying to save cat
A 13-year-old girl died while trying to save a kitten from an oncoming car in North Florida. Sixth-grader Melissa Tindell was at a bus stop Friday near Panama City when she saw the kitten. She ran into the road and was hit by a driver who tried to swerve around her. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.