Jolly was a teen when it happened, and authorities said it wasn't his fault, according to a St. Petersburg Times report at the time that failed to surface in earlier coverage of David Jolly's congressional campaign because it misspelled Jolly's name as Jolley:
Man walking along road is hit and killed (June 11, 1989)
SECTION: PASCO TIMES; TIMES DIGEST; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 151 words
DATELINE: LAND O'LAKES
LAND O'LAKES — A 30-year-old Zephyrhills man was killed Friday night [June 9, 1989] when a car struck him as he was walking down County Road 581, three miles south of State Road 54, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Blair W. Ropes, 540 Elaine Drive in Zephyrhills, was walking on the right side of the road with the flow of northbound traffic when he was struck. Ropes was thrown 147 feet and was pronounced dead on the scene, the report said. David Wilson Jolley, 16, of 406 W Meridian Ave. in Dade City was driving his car northbound when he hit Ropes, the report said. The accident occurred about 9:30 p.m. on the two-lane blacktop road. According to the report, Ropes was wearing dark clothing. The report said Jolley didn't see Ropes. No charges were filed. The death was the 25th traffic fatality in Pasco County this year.
After receiving an anonymous note about a "reckless" younger Jolly having killed someone, we reached out to Jolly's cousin and spokeswoman Sarah Bascom. She confirmed Jolly had killed someone in a car accident, but said it was too painful of a topic for him to discuss with us. I intended to wait until we had an official record from the Florida Highway Patrol to report Jolly's involvement in the man's death.
But SaintPetersblog, which is paid in advertising by the Jolly campaign and Bascom's communications shop, informs us via twitter that SPBlog's go-to TV reporter, WTSP-Ch. 10's Preston Rudie,"scooped" the Tampa Bay Times by airing an interview with Jolly about the the accident tonight.