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SWIMMER, 55, DROWNS

TREASURE ISLAND

Strong rip currents may have contributed to the death of a 55-year-old man who drowned while swimming off Treasure Island on Saturday, police said.

The man had been swimming with friends shortly before passers-by saw his body in the water just off the beach. Beachgoers pulled the unconscious man from the water and called 911.

Police performed CPR on the man until emergency medical workers arrived, but they couldn't save him.

The incident happened about 3 p.m. near the 8400 block of Gulf Boulevard, which is near Blind Pass Road.

It's unknown if the swimmer experienced a medical problem. Rip currents may have been a contributing factor, as several water rescues took place along the Pinellas beaches within hours of the man's drowning.

Treasure Island police haven't released the man's name pending notification of his family.

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TAMPA

Officer injured in crash

A Tampa police officer was injured Sunday during yet another wrong-way crash that occurred near the intersection of Armenia Avenue and Interstate 275.

Hillary Whittle, 24, of Tampa was driving a Mazda 3 northbound on N Armenia Avenue, which is a one-way southbound street, at about 4 a.m. Sunday when she collided with the vehicle of police officer Natasha Stanek, authorities said. Stanek was driving westbound across Armenia from the off-ramp of southbound I-275.

Both drivers were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Whittle is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Tampa police, with charges pending the results of a blood test.

The I-275 on-ramp at Armenia Avenue was closed for several hours as police investigated the crash. Eleven people have died in a string of wrong-way crashes on local highways this year.

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LARGO

SUV strikes, kills two

Two pedestrians were killed Saturday night after they walked in front of an oncoming sport utility vehicle on 66th Street N, authorities said.

Troopers named one of the victims, 55-year-old Connie Lynn Carreira of Clearwater, but are withholding the name of the other, a 50-year-old Pinellas Park man, until family is notified.

The two were walking westbound on the south side of the intersection at 66th Street and 126th Avenue N shortly before 7:45 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Lonnie Ray Baumback, 65, of Largo, was driving a 1999 Isuzu SUV northbound in the center lane of 66th Street, according to the FHP.

He had a green light to go through the intersection, troopers said.

The two pedestrians both died at the scene after they walked into the SUV's path, troopers said.

No charges have been filed.

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