1. Fun

New documentary recounts Skyway bridge disaster. Watch the trailer here.

Times files An aerial photo from May 9, 1980, shows the freighter Summit Venture after it collided with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The bridge collapse killed 35 people and is the subject of a new documentary to premier at Tampa Theatre Sept. 14.
Published Jul. 18

Tampa Theatre will host the premiere of the new documentary, The Skyway Bridge Disaster, about the deaths of 35 people in the freighter crash that collapsed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in May 1980.

A freak weather formation was blamed in the crash, and Capt. John Lerro was exonerated. Lerro's attorney, Steve Yerrid, co-produced the documentary with local filmmaker Frank VanDeBoe.

The narrator is retired WTVT-Ch. 13 news anchor John Wilson. The film includes interviews with survivors, reporters who covered the tragedy and elected officials of the time including former Florida Gov. Bob Graham and former Tampa Mayor Bob Martinez.

Animators created a chilling recreation of the crash as Lerro would have seen it — the thick fog, the blurring rain, and the view of the bridge once the storm cleared.

Lerro was piloting the Summit Venture, a 608-foot bulk freighter, when it collided with one of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge's support columns. More than 1,200 feet of the bridge crumbled into Tampa Bay, and 35 people plunged to their deaths.

The film recounts the courtroom drama and the aftermath of the crash. A strong friendship developed between Lerro, who died in 2002 of complications from multiple sclerosis, and Yerrid, who delivered a eulogy at the funeral.

The program will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Tampa Theatre, with an introduction from Yerrid. Following the film, Yerrid and the filmmakers will answer questions from the audience. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $12.50, and will go on sale at noon Friday at the theater's box office, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa, and online at

Information from Times files and staff writer Paul Guzzo was used in this report.


  1. A sign outside the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge shows the virtual queue closed on opening day, Dec. 5. Luis Santana
    Disney’s newest ‘Star Wars’-themed ride saw its virtual queue filled by 8:30 a.m. on opening day, with no other ride options available. The park’s scheduled open time was 9 a.m.
  2. Michael McDonald, right, will rejoin the Doobie Brothers for a 50th anniversary tour that'll hit the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on June 10. Clay Patrick McBride
    Seats for Lyle Lovett, Chicago with Rick Springfield and more are up for grabs.
  3. Jessica and Tommy Garvin pose for a selfie outside of the Tropicana Field Wednesday evening after they were notified that their wedding ring lost at Enchant Christmas was found. Photo courtesy of Jessica and Tommy Garvin
    After thinking it was gone forever, the Garvins are thrilled to have their sentiment of love returned.
  4. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge new attraction, Rise of the Resistance, at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The stakes are high for Rise of the Resistance after Disney got mixed reviews for opening its new Star Wars land before its marquee attraction was open.
  5. Disney guests will traverse the corridors of a Star Destroyer and join a battle between the First Order and the Resistance — including a face-off with Kylo Ren — when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens Dec. 5 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
    Glitches stopped the ride for most of the morning, but once aboard, the fans found a treat.
  6. Jessica Garvin, 26, lost her wedding ring on Black Friday within 15 minutes of a family trip to Enchant Christmas St. Petersburg. She and husband Tommy Garvin spent the restr of the night searching for it, but never found it. Photo Courtesy of Jessica Garvin
    The ring, a 14-karat gold band with a torn-paper edge and stones set into an engraving, is not your typical wedding ring. And to Jessica Garvin, it’s much more.
  7. The St. Pete Beach holiday boat parade will return on Dec. 7 with a visit by Santa at the Merry Pier. Tampa Bay Times (2015)
    Boat parades, snow festivals, a free Family Day at the museum and more top the list of free and cheap fun.
  8. Guests will traverse the corridors of a Star Destroyer and join a battle between the First Order and the Resistance when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens on Dec. 5 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Walt Disney World
    Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens at Disney, the Globetrotters show off their tricks and bluegrass and ukulele music rule the day.
  9. Lil Bub waits in the arms of owner Mike Bridavsky to meet and greet fans during CatCon 2017 in Pasadena, Calif in August 2017. RICHARD VOGEL  |  AP
    The cat died peacefully in her sleep Sunday after battling a rare bone infection.
  10. Snowfest returns to Straub Park on Saturday, giving Florida kids a chance to play in the snow. Tampa Bay Times (2013)
    You can play in snow or catch the Harlem Globetrotters, plus lighted boat parades begin and Tony Bennett and Trisha Yearwood perform.