The man police identified Wednesday as a potential witness to the shooting of a 16-year-old girl after a Plant High School football game has contacted authorities, who determined he knew nothing about it. The man, who was seen on surveillance videos walking into the Friday night football game, was questioned by detectives after the public release of the video, police said. He was not considered a suspect. The shooting happened about 10 p.m. Friday, police said, when the 16-year-old was walking home from the game with a 15-year-old classmate. A man pulled up next to them on W San Miguel Street near S Bendelow Trail. He rolled down the window, said something and pointed a gun, police said. The girls ran and the man fired, hitting the older girl in the leg, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (813) 231-6130.
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Yellow lights get a blink of extra time
Motorists will get a heartbeat's more time on yellow lights at Tampa's 18 intersections with red-light cameras in the next few months, though the changes have nothing to do with the cameras. The Florida Department of Transportation has ordered the minimum duration of yellow lights to be lengthened by 0.4 seconds. The reason: The National Cooperative Highway Research Program recently concluded that as the driving population ages, older motorists should get at least a third of a second more to react to yellow lights. At the direction of the state, the city also will retime the instant during which lights in all directions are red from the 1 second Tampa typically uses now to 2 seconds. Both changes have to be done at all signaled intersections, but those with red-light cameras must be done first. All red-light camera intersections must be done by Dec. 31. Other intersections on the state highway system must be retimed by mid 2015.
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Fired officer sues to get his job back
Tampa police Sgt. Ray Fernandez, fired last month following a DUI arrest authorities describe as a setup, is asking to be reinstated and paid back salary. A Police Benevolent Association grievance on his behalf asserts that the city did not have just cause to fire him and that the discipline was "arbitrary, capricious, excessive and not progressive in nature." Fernandez was fired Sept. 27 following an internal investigation of a Jan. 23 drunken driving arrest outside Malio's steak house. The arrest came during a contentious civil defamation trial pitting Bubba the Love Sponge Clem against radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt. A paralegal from the law firm representing Clem bought drinks for lawyer C. Philip Campbell, who was representing Schnitt, authorities found. She called and texted her bosses all the while - one a close friend of Fernandez, who later pulled Campbell over as Campbell drove her car. Prosecutors later dropped the DUI charge. The department said Fernandez lied and likely destroyed evidence.
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Erwin Technical 2nd in U.S. ranking
Erwin Technical Center has placed second in the nation in a ranking of community colleges and technical centers. The list by Bankrate recognized the success Erwin has in placing nursing students in jobs and retention of students. Erwin, at 2010 E Hillsborough Ave., is one of four technical education centers operated for adults by the Hillsborough County school district.