Monday, November 12, 2018
News Roundup

Driver in Selmon wrong-way crash had nearly 0.28 percent blood alcohol, police say

TAMPA — Shortly after a fiery crash killed a 68-year-old grandfather on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, the man police say caused the collision had a blood alcohol content of 0.275 percent, officers testified Wednesday.

That’s more than three times the level at which Florida law presumes a driver is impaired.

The detail emerged during a pretrial detention hearing Wednesday for Stephen Joseph Paleveda, who faces DUI manslaughter and other charges related to the death of Bamnet Narongchai.

Paleveda, 27, his wrists and ankles shackled, stared silently at a defense table throughout the 40-minute hearing. A small wound, sustained in the fatal crash, was visible near the bridge of his nose.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe granted a prosecutor’s request that Paleveda be held without bail after two officers testified.

"It was evident," Tharpe said, "that he had a complete disregard for the safety of the community."

RELATED:There were two fatal wrong-way crashes last weekend. Should we be worried?

Tampa police began getting calls about a reckless driver just after midnight Sunday in the area of MacDill Avenue and Hawthorne Road, a few blocks west of Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa.

Another motorist spotted the Ford F-350 pickup truck, which was moving erratically without headlights, in the SoHo area of Tampa. The motorist followed and recorded video on a dashboard camera as the truck hit a sign, blew through red lights, and went the wrong direction on one-way streets.

The truck entered the Selmon but went east in the expressway’s westbound lanes, where it slammed into another vehicle, which caught fire.

The other driver, Narongchai, died. He lived in South Tampa with his wife, friends told the Tampa Bay Times. The couple had recently celebrated the birth of a grandchild.

Born in Thailand, he regularly helped cook food for the Sunday market at the Wat Buddhist temple in the Palm River area. He was a mechanic for Reddy Ice, which donated ice to the market for soft drinks and Thai tea. Friends believe he was on his way home from a late work shift when he was killed.

RELATED:Wrong way driver alert? Here’s what to do

An Uber driver who witnessed the crash told police she’d seen Paleveda running off.

Officers found him later near Hyde Park Avenue and Azeele Street. His shirt was soaked in blood, police Officer James Blanchard testified. Paleveda was also missing a shoe.

"I asked him if he was injured and in response, he removed his T-shirt and put it on the hood of the police car," Blanchard said.

He could see bruises and scrapes on Paleveda’s body. His breath smelled of alcohol, the officer said. When questioned, Paleveda rambled and became belligerent, Blanchard said.

"He denied involvement in the crash," Blanchard said. "He characterized himself as having only been walking down a sidewalk."

Paleveda was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where a medical blood sample revealed the 0.275 percent blood alcohol content. Impairment is presumed at 0.08 or greater. Results from a second blood sample are still pending.

The defendant glanced once at courtroom spectators. Among them were his brother and sister, attorneys said, along with several of the dead man’s family members.

"I’m so sorry, guys," the brother whispered, breaking into tears.

Contact Dan Sullivan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

 
Comments
USF men trail early, blow late lead, prevail in OT

USF men trail early, blow late lead, prevail in OT

The Bulls blow an 11-point second-half lead before eking out the triumph
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies investigating woman's death in Lake Egypt Estates

Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies investigating woman's death in Lake Egypt Estates

Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene of a suspicious death at about 8p.m. Monday in the Lake Egypt Estates neighborhood near Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: In Tampa Bay, time is a flat circle

Buccaneers AfterMath: In Tampa Bay, time is a flat circle

Everything the Bucs have ever done or will ever do, they will do over and over and over again.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Update: With cool front on the way, tropical disturbance in the Atlantic looks less likely to form

Update: With cool front on the way, tropical disturbance in the Atlantic looks less likely to form

Increasingly, it looks like a late-season tropical disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean will not develop as forecasters originally thought it might.“This system has not become any better organized over the past 24 hours, and environmental conditi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
State cross country roundup: Riverview’s Alyssa Hendrix, Plant girls triumph

State cross country roundup: Riverview’s Alyssa Hendrix, Plant girls triumph

The state of cross country is strong in Tampa Bay, a sentiment that resounded loud and clear through all four high school classifications on Saturday in Tallahassee.First, the champions.The Class 4A girls race was rife with local gold after Riverview...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays Joey Wendle fourth in AL rookie voting

Rays Joey Wendle fourth in AL rookie voting

Rays INF Joey Wendle finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani was the relatively easy winner, despite being limited to 92 games due to injury, getting 25 of the 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseb...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs sign placekicker Cairo Santos

Bucs sign placekicker Cairo Santos

TAMPA — The Bucs signed placekicker Cairo Santos to replace Chandler Catanzaro, the team announced Monday night.Santos will become the Bucs' seventh placekicker since the beginning of the 2015 season.He owns a 84.1 field-goal conversion percent...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays Kevin Cash has a case for AL Manager of the Year award

Rays Kevin Cash has a case for AL Manager of the Year award

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays have already shown their appreciation for the job Kevin Cash did in managing them through roster renovation, injuries and strategic innovation to win 90 games by rewarding him with a contract extension through 2024.Tue...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A couple together, as always

A couple together, as always

This story was first published on April 17, 2010.CLEARWATER — Jimmy Wise, a retired railroad engineer, was out of bed at the first suggestion of sunlight. He threw on an old pair of shorts and hit the beach right outside his condo. Mr. Wise walked th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Pedestrian killed in crash with wrong-way driver while loading bicycle onto PSTA bus

Pedestrian killed in crash with wrong-way driver while loading bicycle onto PSTA bus

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies are investigating the death of a pedestrian who was killed by an out-of-control vehicle while hitching a bicycle to the front of a county bus.
Updated: 4 hours ago