Advertisement
  1. News

Boarders, bikers and suits drawn to memorial for Wesley Chapel hit-and-run victim

Juan Perez and Rebecca Fiallos, parents of Angel Rodriguez Fiallos, speak during a memorial for their son Aug. 11 in Wesley Chapel. Angel Fiallos was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, investigators said. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
Juan Perez and Rebecca Fiallos, parents of Angel Rodriguez Fiallos, speak during a memorial for their son Aug. 11 in Wesley Chapel. Angel Fiallos was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, investigators said. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published Aug. 19, 2019

Click here to read this story in Spanish.

WESLEY CHAPEL — Anthony Ledford knew he'd found a friend when he saw the worn-out skate shoes.

In the office at Forest Hills Elementary School in Tampa, Ledford, then in fourth grade, spotted Angel Gabriel Rodriguez Fiallos in the footwear that marked the skateboarding tribe — people who spend their weekends outside practicing and bonding over board tricks.

Two decades later, Ledford got a call. Fiallos had been struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver Aug. 3 while riding his Harley-Davidson XL1200 motorcycle, a hobby Ledford persuaded him to get into.

Ledford didn't believe it, not until he looked at the medical table and saw the black S8-Hi Vans that Fiallos wore. They were covered in dirt and blood.

Ledford joined more than 150 people who traveled to the gymnasium at North Tampa Christian Academy on Aug. 11 to celebrate the life of the Wesley Chapel man. Each chair, plus extra ones the staff put down, was filled. Late-comers stood in the back. Fiallos lay in a wooden casket topped by a skateboard and motorcycle helmet stuffed with sunflowers. He wore the T-shirt of favorite anime character Deku from My Hero Academia. His recent ex-girlfriend of almost 10 years, Stephanie Blasciak, bought it for him.

RELATED STORY: Carjacking couple in custody after hitting, killing motorcyclist then fleeing the scene in stolen car

"I feel horrible that he lost his life at 26," Ledford said. "If he was taken, it was for a bigger purpose — that God took him for a reason. He was needed somewhere else."

Troopers said Fiallos was struck and killed about 7:30 a.m. when a 2000 Dodge Dakota ran a red light at the intersection of State Road 54 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. They then hit Fiallos, of Wesley Chapel, who was riding his motorcycle.

Cody Bearry, 31, of Wesley Chapel, was driving the Dakota and Breanna Lynn Wright, 23, of Dade City, was his passenger, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

They kept driving and collided with a Nissan Altima, propelling it into a fourth vehicle. They didn't stop then, either, the Highway Patrol said.

The pair ran across the highway to a Wawa gas station, carjacking a green 2002 Saturn and headed east on State Road 54.

They were spotted six hours later and 24 miles away, troopers said. Wright was caught in the 6600 block of Knights Griffin Road in Plant City but Bearry ran and was apprehended about 8 p.m. after a search through woods and a canal using tracking dogs.

They each face a number of charges in the incident. For Bearry, they include leaving the scene of a crash, fleeing police, carjacking, grand theft of a firearm and driving with a suspended license causing death, according to court records. Wright faces charges of carjacking with a firearm and possession of the drug Clonazepam, used to prevent and control seizures, according to court records.

Ledford, 27, said he and others who knew Fiallos plan to attend court hearings.

"I'm trying to get over the fact that there's two people still getting three square meals a day and running water after putting my best friend in a grave at such a young age," Ledford said.

During the viewing Sunday morning, the focus was on Fiallos' life and not how he died.

The crowd included family, friends he met at the skate park and identifiable from their many tattoos, motorcyclists in leather vests who had learned how he died, administrators in suits from Advent Health Wesley Chapel where Fiallos worked as a valet, even hospital patients he had greeted.

About two dozen people stood to tell their favorite stories about Fiallos. They all had the same theme: He never stopped improving his life and raised others up as he did.

He learned last year he had a brain tumor but medication he was taking gave his life a new spark. He started reading self-help books and woke up around 5 a.m. each day to work out. He grew in his spirituality. He loved his job at a valet, but began to consider more ambitious career paths — maybe barber school or firefighter academy.

The hospital loved him so much they wrote his name into the contract with their valet service, said Tyson Davis, chief financial officer.

Said ex-girlfriend Stephanie Blasciak, 28, "When I think about Angel, I think about somebody who would want you to look toward the future, not the past. He would want you to keep pushing on, no matter what."

Rebecca Fiallos said she's not sure what she's going to do without her only son. But seeing the outpouring of love for him confirmed for her that she had raised a good man.

"He impacted so many people's lives," she said. "My son was special. And he doesn't have a chance at life anymore because of these people."

Contact Paige Fry at pfry@tampabay.com. Follow @paigexfry.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  2. Death row inmate James Dailey, left, awaits execution for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio in Pinellas County. His co-defendant, Jack Pearcy, now says he alone killed the girl. A judge wants to hear his testimony at a March 5 hearing.
  3. Jarvis Delon West was arrested for child neglect after failing to report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police
  4. Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D., Chief Resilience Officer, Executive Office of the Governor in 2019.
  5. A section of the Robles Park Village public housing complex was built on top the forgotten Zion Cemetery.
  6. Tampa Fire Rescue units arrived at 1011 E 23rd Ave. and put out the fire that consumed this two-story house. The fire was started by a man who trapped himself inside, officials said, and later died of his injuries.
  7. Violinists, Patricia Quintero, RubŽn Rengel, Alex Gonzalez and Emilia Mettenbrink, with the Sphinx Virtuosi orchestra from Detroit, perform at the Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum Thursday/
  8. Tampa City Council chairman Luis Viera said Mayor Jane Castor's decision to add a second ambulance to Station 13 in North Tampa will improve emergency services for his constituents.
  9. A rendering of the new Ulta created by Hennon Group Architects and included in the permits for the building filed with the City of Tampa.
  10. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay.
  11. Debbie and her husband Michael, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, fish from the Dunedin Causeway Thursday. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission extended the period of catch and release for several species of fish along the west coast of Florida.
  12. Shirley Elizabeth Rayner, 52, of Tarpon Springs, is facing a charge of elderly exploitation. Deputies say she forged or altered checks belonging to a 97-year-old woman she was hired to help.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement