1. Archive



A 65-year-old Dade City woman died and another woman was seriously injured Wednesday when a Pasco County school bus ran a red light and rear-ended a Smart car and broadsided a Malibu, authorities said. The crash happened at 3:05 p.m. at U.S. 301 and Morningside Drive. According to Dade City police, the bus struck the Smart car, which was stopped on U.S. 301 south, pushing it through the traffic signal and hitting the Malibu, said Officer Brian Uppercue. The Malibu was driven by Harian McDonald, who was traveling east on Morningside with her two teenage grandchildren. McDonald died at the scene. The Smart car driver, Patricia Austin, 61, was flown to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in serious condition, Uppercue said. The children in McDonald's car, a 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, were taken to Florida Hospital Zephyrhills to be checked for injuries. The bus driver, 57-year-old Bonita Mayle, and an aide, were both uninjured. No students were on the school bus. No charges had been filed, but the accident remained under investigation.

* * *


Man gets 10 years in hit-run death

A Plant City man who ran over an 80-year-old pedestrian and left him to die last year entered guilty pleas in the hit-and-run case Wednesday and was given 10 years in prison. Ryan S. Pottinger, 30, was also sentenced to a decade of probation after state prison. Hillsborough County deputies said Pottinger was driving the Ford Ranger pickup that hit Santiago Sanchez-Lopez in 2013 as he was crossing the road in front of his home on Sydney Dover Road. Deputies said Pottinger drove off. Several days later, tips from the public led deputies to Pottinger, who was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, a felony for which he could have faced as many as 30 years in prison. He also was charged with driving with a revoked license. He pleaded guilty to both counts. As part of the plea deal, Pottinger will not be allowed to drive once he's out on probation. He also must do 100 hours of community service and pay $5,320 for the victim's funeral expenses.

* * *


Bus stops altered for blueberry fest

THE Bus, Hernando County's public transportation system, will have a temporary closure of the stops on Howell Avenue near Irene Street and at Brooksville City Hall, starting Friday, in preparation for this weekend's Florida Blueberry Festival in Brooksville. On Friday, the stops will be relocated to Fort Dade Avenue at Lemon Avenue. Normal bus stops will resume Monday. For details, call (352) 754-4444.

* * *


Longtime mayor loses in runoff

After six decades, the residents of Apopka have a new leader. Joe Kilsheimer received 54 percent of the vote in Tuesday's runoff election. He defeated 93-year-old John Land, first elected mayor of the Orlando suburb in 1949. He served for the next six decades, except for three years. Land told WFTV that he'll probably have a broken heart when the reality sinks in. He had run unopposed over the last dozen years. Kilsheimer, a former newspaper reporter and self-employed media consultant, says the election doesn't change what Land has done for the city over the years.