1. Archive


Published May 16, 2011

Three people were killed in separate accidents across the Tampa Bay area early this weekend.

A man died from injuries after he was struck by a sport utility vehicle in Tampa early Saturday while crossing against the traffic light on 50th Street at Broadway Avenue, police said. The SUV driver never stopped.

Aaron Keith Cordes, 57, was pushing a shopping cart in the crosswalk when he was struck by the northbound SUV, police said.

Several witnesses tried to render aid to Cordes until police officers and paramedics arrived and started CPR. Cordes died several hours later.

Police are searching for a black SUV, possibly a 1990s or early 2000 model, with chrome trim. The front end may be marked with blue paint from the shopping cart.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tampa Police Department at (813) 231-6130.

In Clearwater, a scooter driver died Friday evening after being hit by a car, city officials said.

The crash happened at Drew and NE Cleveland streets just before 9 p.m. Authorities said a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Jennifer Ruth Knoepp, 47, of Seminole, turned in front of the scooter and hit it. The scooter's driver - Maria del Carmen Ruiz de Renteria, 44, of Pinellas Park - died at a hospital. Her passenger - Ibolonia Torres, 41, of Clearwater - was flown to Bayfront Medical Center with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, authorities said. Knoepp was cited for a right-of-way violation.

And a 27-year-old Tampa man died Friday night after he lost control of his motorcycle on the Veterans Expressway and hit a guardrail, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Christopher Mello was traveling south near Linebaugh Avenue just before midnight when he lost control of his 2005 Yamaha on a curve and struck the guardrail on the west shoulder, the Highway Patrol said. He died at the scene. Mello was wearing a helmet. The incident remains under investigation.