bottom of this page prevention search research site map contact
2013 activity 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997-54
skyway bridge accidents
|09.13.12: vehicle flips on skyway|
|10.21.11: Rescue crews search waters alongside Skyway following crash.|
wtsp.com, St. Petersburg, Florida- UPDATE: According to FHP, no one was
found in the water.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a serious crash that happened Thursday night on the Skyway Bridge.
Emergency crews arrived shortly after 8:00 to find a three-car crash in the northbound lanes and a woman down in the roadway.
A spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue said the injured woman was rushed to Bayfront Medical Center in critical condition. He said the agency received numerous 9-1-1 calls from eyewitnesses who reported seeing someone thrown off the side of the bridge during the crash.
A St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Boat was called out to the scene and searched the water alongside the bridge but no one was found.
The Florida Highway Patrol is now taking over the crash investigation. Traffic is back to normal, but one northbound lane may be shut down overnight near the crash site as the investigation continues.
BBeau Zimmer, 10 News
|08.06.11: van flips on skyway, driver
ejected and killed. son, 12, injured.
Shane K. Chancy, 37
thank you, jumpnews
Palm Harbor father killed, son injured in Sunshine Skyway accident
ST. PETERSBURG A Palm Harbor man was killed and his 12-year-old son was critically injured after a tire blew out and their minivan overturned on the Sunshine Skyway bridge Saturday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Shane K. Chancy, 37, was going north in a 1997 Mercury minivan on the outside lane of the bridge when he lost control of the vehicle, troopers said. The minivan veered to the outside shoulder, the Highway Patrol said, Chancy steered to the left and traveled across the roadway.
The minivan collided with the median guardrail near the 13.5 milepost of Interstate 275. The vehicle overturned and Chancy was ejected, troopers said.
Chancy was pronounced dead at the scene. His son, Seth Tyler Chancy, suffered serious injuries and was taken to All Children's Hospital, troopers said.
The crash is under investigation. [Last modified: Aug 06, 2011 10:36 PM] (our best wishes for young Seth's quick recovery.)
08.08.11, tampabay.com, Boy injured in rollover accident on Sunshine Skyway released from hospital
ST. PETERSBURG A 12-year-old boy injured in a rollover crash on the Sunshine Skyway bridge on Saturday afternoon was treated and released from All Children's Hospital, authorities said.
Seth Tyler Chancy was released later Saturday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Seth's father, 37-year-old Shane K. Chancy of Palm Harbor, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which happened around 5:30 p.m. According to the FHP, a tire blew out on the minivan being driven by Chancy, which caused the minivan to overturn. Chancy, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.
[Last modified: Aug 08, 2011 06:03 PM]
|03.28.07: almost accident.|
03.28.07, sptimes.com, Skyway scare sends shudders
ST. PETERSBURG - Tobias Rose was navigating a 378-foot freighter filled with more than 10,000 metric tons of phosphate and heading toward the Sunshine Skyway bridge Wednesday when the ship's power and steering suddenly failed.
At that moment, the Antilles II was roughly 2,000 yards from the Skyway, where 35 people died in 1980 after a 608-foot ship rammed it.
So Rose decided to run the ship aground rather than let it veer toward the Skyway, said Allen Thompson, executive director of the Tampa Bay Pilots Association, who spoke to Rose after the incident early Wednesday. Harbor pilots guide about 5,000 large ships in and out of the Tampa port each year.
The Florida Highway Patrol closed the bridge to cars and trucks early Wednesday as a precaution, backing up traffic for miles. It reopened it in less than two hours.
"The key thing was that he realized some evasive action was necessary," Thompson said. "I think he felt the only action was put the vessel aground or risk a worst-case scenario."
But another worst-case Skyway tragedy seems unlikely, officials say.
After the May 1980 Skyway accident, a new bridge was built, designed to try to make sure the tragedy could not happen again.
So was the bridge in danger of collapsing again on Wednesday?
"The answer to that is that we have a system of protections in place to prevent" such a disaster, said Pepe Garcia, a structures and facilities engineer with the state Department of Transportation.
Garcia pointed to two key features:
- Giant concrete and wood disks called "dolphins" placed around bridge supports. These are supposed to act like bumpers, preventing ships from reaching the supports.
- Islands of rocks built around the biggest bridge supports in the channel. These are designed to make a ship run into the rocks before it could strike the supports.
Garcia said it's still good news the ship did not hit either of these features, because they could have damaged the ship and harmed the protective features themselves.
"I'm glad that no one got hurt as far as I understand," Garcia said. "No one in the ship or anywhere."
A Coast Guard investigation is continuing.
Something was up
Among early morning anglers on the two Skyway fishing piers, the incident went almost unnoticed.
Shaun Martinez of Tampa spent most of the night on the north pier. He said he saw a lot of police activity but had no idea what it was about.
"There were police lights along the bridge as far as I could see, and helicopters in the air with spotlights, and I knew something was going on, but I couldn't tell what it was," Martinez said.
Robert Abbenauer of Boston, who was fishing on the south Skyway pier, said he noticed lights near the shipping channel.
"I thought they might be a ship. But they weren't moving, so I couldn't be sure until daybreak, when it was pretty obvious," Abbenauer said.
It wasn't clear Wednesday how Rose was able to maneuver the ship when the steering was malfunctioning. He could not be reached.
But after the incident, the hull of the Antilles II came to rest in the sandy bottom south of Tampa Bay's shipping channel, about 400 yards east of the Skyway.
With the U.S. Coast Guard supervising and an assist from a high tide, workers on three tugs yanked the ship loose about noon, and tugged it to Port Manatee for an inspection. The Panamanian ship, which has a draft of 27 feet, was carrying 10,000 metric tons of phosphate and 78 metric tons of fuel to power the ship.
The incident stopped ship traffic in and out of the Port of Tampa and Port Manatee and delayed about 10 vessels.
Workers using a new system that tracks ship movements in Tampa Bay saw the Antilles II was heading aground early Wednesday and called the Coast Guard.
The system, called the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service, monitors ships in much the same way that air traffic controllers monitor airplane flights.
-- Times staff writers Jean Heller and Steve Huettel contributed to this report.
Length of freighter: 378 feet
Draft: 27 feet
Cargo: 10,000 metric tons of phosphate
Fuel: 78 metric tons
Location: 400 yards east of Sunshine Skyway
Skyway auto traffic closed: 1 hour, 40 minutes
|02.24.05: wrecks on skyway kill 2, injure 1
Erica L. Reed, 27, killed by Joel C. Melody, 25, also died. Tammy A. Webb, 27, injured.
thank you, jumpnews
© St. Petersburg Times,
Erica L. Reed wanted nothing but the best for her newborn son.
Less than a month after giving birth, she was back at work with two jobs. Full time for a Tampa insurance company as a sales agent. Part time as a host for a Bradenton restaurant.
But the long hours would soon end. Another insurance company had offered Reed more money, and the single mother looked forward to starting the new job on Monday and spending more time with her son, Anthony Devon William Reed.
Instead, he will never know his mother.
Early Thursday, a man fleeing an accident drove the wrong way on the Sunshine Skyway bridge and slammed head on into Reed's car as she drove home from work. Reed, 27, and the man who hit her died at the scene.
"She was hard-working," said Reed's sister, Monica Williams. Her second job "was something to do to keep the bills paid up until she was able to get this other job on Monday. She would have been set up after that."
Trooper Larry Coggins, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, said Joel C. Melody, 25, of 10130 Yacht Club Drive, Treasure Island, crashed his Jeep Grand Cherokee head on into Reed's Nissan Maxima.
After Melody hit Reed, of 3157 Diamond Knot Circle, Tampa, he hit the front end of a Buick LeSabre driven by Tammy A. Webb, 27, of 5824 S Sixth St., Tampa. Webb was listed in serious condition at Bayfront Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. Melody had been involved in a earlier wreck in St. Petersburg, Coggins said, and had fled the scene.
Butch Rinard Jr., 47, was exiting northbound Interstate 275 at 54th Avenue S when he saw car traveling toward him, headed the wrong direction on the exit ramp.
The car slammed into the back of Rinard's Toyota Celica, spinning it around. Rinard thought the other driver, later identified as Melody, was going to stop. But he recovered and continued up the exit ramp and onto I-275, headed toward the Skyway.
Angry, Rinard chased behind, wanting to get the license number.
Rinard followed Melody toward the Skyway, and didn't realize he was traveling south in the northbound lanes until he saw the toll booth on the other side of the road, Rinard said.
He got behind Melody, traveling about 85 mph, and copied his license plate.
Oncoming traffic swerved out of the way, Rinard said.
Rinard pulled beside Melody. He honked his horn, flashed his lights, shouted for him to pull over.
Melody glanced over just once.
"He had kind of a blank look," Rinard said. "I saw no anger, no nothing. I saw no recollection of the accident, or even any emotion toward me. He looked over, then continued on."
Rinard said he pulled in front of Melody and started to decelerate, hoping to slow him down. But he said Melody just inched closer.
Rinard decided to pull off at the northbound rest stop exit, about 40 seconds after the chase began.
"I figured I wasn't going to go over the Skyway and chance it," said Rinard, of St. Petersburg.
He spotted a state trooper at the rest stop and told him a man was heading the wrong way up the bridge.
The trooper sped off, and Rinard stood beneath a full moon, watching the bridge.
He saw a stream of car headlights racing across the bridge, then suddenly, without a sound, they stopped.
Then the sirens began to wail, and Rinard knew what had happened.
Reed was the youngest of three daughters born to Clark and Elflora Reed.
Her middle sister, Monica Williams, described Reed as the most organized of the siblings.
She was funny but had a serious side, Williams said. Since Anthony's birth, Reed was starting to change, her sister said.
"Before, you're a single person and it's all about you," Williams said. "Then, when you have the baby, it kicks in that it's no longer about you. That's why she decided to get the new job. She knew that it was more than just her that she had to feed and support."
Reed graduated high school from Tampa Bay Tech and then began working for Bankers Life and Casualty insurance company.
Her oldest sister, Angela Sosik, said Reed was so good at her job, she won a trip to Hawaii last year.
"She took me as her date," said Sosik. "I was very proud of her."
Elizabeth Ovitt started work for Bankers Life and Casualty on the same day as Reed three years ago. "We were pretty much best friends," Ovitt said. "She was the one I could tell anything to without being judged."
Ovitt said Reed was the "life of the party." She laughed at Ovitt's jokes, even when they weren't funny, Ovitt said.
"I'm going to miss our four-hour chats about nothing . . . that friendship where you could call any time, any place, and just know she would be there on the other line until you're done."
Melody was cited for careless driving, a seat belt violation and an expired tag in June 2003 in Palm Beach County, according to state records.
He was convicted and received three points on his license for the careless driving charge, records show. His driving record also includes a citation for speeding in 1999, 80 in a 60 mph zone.
Melody's relatives declined to comment. "Are you kidding? We're grieving," said a woman who answered the phone Thursday.
Melody's mother died within the last two weeks, said Coggins. Melody's mother, 46-year-old Debby Angelo, owned her own day care center and Yesterday's Cafe in Treasure Island.
He did not know whether that was a factor in Melody's actions, or whether alcohol played a role.
The FHP is awaiting results of toxicology tests, which could take weeks.
Had Joel Melody survived the accident, Reed's sister said she hopes he would have learned a lesson. A lesson, Williams said, she and her family plan to teach to Anthony.
"Own up to your mistakes," Williams said. "Every action has a consequence. And this is one of the most serious actions to be taken. Someone has lost their life."
Reed's sisters are thinking a lot about lessons - lessons Erica Reed won't be around to teach her son.
"She wanted Anthony to go to college, to be a law-abiding citizen," Williams said, "and to be a man that is respectful of women."
02.26.05, © St. Petersburg Times, Driver's pursuit unwise, FHP says
|07.10.05, Angela S., Tampa, FL., Thank you for the story
on my sister, Erica Reed, who was killed on the Skyway Bridge on 2/24/05. I've
recently had the courage to start looking at articles, which why I have not
previously given my thanks. May I please request to have any and all stories
relating to this accident. Specifically, I am looking for the Butch Rinard
mentioned in this article. If you have any information as to how I can contact
him since his name was not mentioned in the police report, it is really
important to all of our family to locate him. My cell number is 813-[number
withheld] if you would like to get in touch with me about anything having
to do with my sister. I would like any article clippings, newsclippings, letters
to paper expressing their sympathy. As you know, she has a son named Anthony who
will never know his mother. Therefore, before this story gets too old in
everyones mind, I would like to add to my memory box. I was too choked up to say
much when the newspaper columnist contacted our family. But I can now that you
just never realize how much a person is part of your life in every aspect. I can
barely get through a day without tearing up and it's almost been 5 months. Thank
you so much for your attention as I know that your time is very valuable. Again,
I would add that this is something that means a lot to my entire family.
(we are sorry for your loss. our condolences to you and
erica reed's family. this site is mainly focused on people that jump off the
bridge under their own power. we post various articles about other skyway
incidents only as a side note. we did look around for further information and
forwarded our findings to you. if anyone
contacts us with more on this story, we will forward that information to you
as well. we wish you much success in finding what you seek.)
06.17.07, Cece, france, I need to reach the sister of my friend Erica Reed that died in a car crash on the skyway Bridge in Tampa, florida. Her sister also wrote on 07.10.05, Angela S.,a thank you letter and gave her number on your site that's apparently being withheld. Please give her my email adress to reach me or give me her number so I can call her. Thank you so much for your help. I need to give her my condoleances and maybe get a picture of Erica. (we passed your email to angela, but it was returned 'no such address'. we then sent you the cell number she provided for contact. good luck.)
|09.14.04: car flips near
the top, male driver thrown from the bridge, dies.
Christopher Henry, 25
09.14.04, unknown, @7:10 am. FHP responded to accident call on Skyway. Found crumpled car but no driver/passenger. They suspect the driver was thrown into water. Coast Guard searched for a few hours, then suspended search.
09.14.04, Mike, St. Petersburg, Story on ABC Action 28 that mystrious car accident on the north bound span. Hit both walls at a high rate of speed and fliped for 300 yrds and came to rest along the west northbound wall. They said they may have been thrown over or left in another car. Who Knows? We'll see if anything washes up.
09.15.04, Mike R., Largo, FL., Does someone being ejected from a car in a crash count as a jumper? (any unintentional 'jumper' or departure from the bridge will not be treated as an intentional jump. this guy was simply trying to get to his destination and had an unfortunate accident. the deliberate suicidal jumper is what this site is really all about. we post this incident simply as a skyway bridge news item of interest.)
09.17.04, Paul S., Sarasota, FL., Strange over the top Skyway death. This
man may not have been committing hari kari, but the end result sure seemed the
same. Friday's Bradenton herald police briefs indicate a man's body was found
washed up on Egmont Key. Last Friday, Christopher Henry, 25 of Bradenton
smashed into the wall on top of the Skyway and hadn't been seen since. Looked
like he went over the edge un willingly. This should have a place as an
honorable mention in Skyway Annals....
(thanks for the story link, paul.)
Coast Guard suspends search after Skyway accident.
The Coast Guard has suspended its search for a driver and possible passengers of a crumpled car found on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tuesday morning.
Troopers believe the driver was ejected and fell into the water when the vehicle flipped and hit a guardrail. They also said it appears whoever was in the car wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
The Coast Guard searched the waters beneath the bridge for several hours but didn't find the driver or possible passengers.
© St. Petersburg Times, Driver missing after Skyway
wreck, Officials fear the driver may have been thrown from the bridge when the
car rolled over. The 2002 Chrysler was registered to a Bradenton man. By
SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER and SAUNDRA AMRHEIN
© St. Petersburg Times, Owner of crashed, empty car
missing, By JAY CRIDLIN and DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN
Investigators link body to Skyway accident.
|11.10.05, jericho, sarasota florida usa, i am responding to the message fo christopher henry the crash on the skyway . i really do not appreciatte the rude comments that you have type and that is very disrespectful. and i wish you the worst to be talking about someone so rudely ( drug dealer, and you wonder if he will be missed, and a link to his criminal record) that is very sad and you are very careless. you could of just let him rest in peace. those comments were not called for i would appreciatte it if you rephrased your words because family and everyone can see this website and he is very much missed. thank you.... (we are sorry for the pain mr. henry caused his family. we are sure his actions were more distressing then this site could ever be. mr. henry was a criminal and he will always have that in his history. as a criminal, his picture and criminal history are public record and available for all to see forever more. to avoid such treatment, mr. henry, as well as anyone else, should not become criminals. so you think by simply referring to his drug dealing criminal past, that we are being 'rude'. you are ridiculous. he dealt drugs and got caught. mr. henry = criminal. we did refrain from detailing our preferred treatment of drug dealers. had this treatment been afforded to mr. henry, he may not have been flung off the bridge at all. he would have had all the drugs in his possession at the time of arrest, injected all at once directly into his body. if he survives that, he is free to go. then maybe later flung off the bridge. we stand by our statement, "we wonder if he will be missed by society in general".)|
|12.31.98: man drives off the end of the old
skyway bridge fishing pier and dies.
William Dusty Sallee, 38
© St. Petersburg Times, By LEANORA MINAI, Tollkeeper's plunge ruled
While the associate medical examiner agrees that the fatal crash on the Skyway fishing pier was odd, he says he has no evidence of suicide.
The death of William Dusty Sallee, the pier toll operator who drove off the South Skyway Fishing Pier into Tampa Bay, has been ruled an accident by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office.
Without a suicide note or witness who heard Sallee threaten to kill himself, there is no evidence that Sallee intended to take his life, said Dr. Russell Vega, the associate medical examiner who performed the autopsy.
"My point of view here is that without pretty strong evidence that a traffic crash is a suicide, we're going to call it an accident," Vega said.
Sallee suffered trauma to the chest and abdomen when his speeding GMC Jimmy hit a Honda Accord at the end of the pier. He crashed through a foot-thick concrete wall and plunged 15 feet into the water.
"He primarily drowned," Vega said.
Toxicology tests to determine whether Sallee had alcohol or drugs in his system will be ready today.
Fishermen said Sallee, 38, was jittery and complained of stomach problems when they paid their entrance tolls.
"I know he had a few beers the day before, but not that day," said Greg McElwaney, 40, his roommate in Tampa.
Sallee had just finished his midnight to 8 a.m. shift Dec. 31 when he climbed into his truck and drove down the pier.
Witnesses said Sallee was driving 70 mph and staring straight ahead before he reached the end of the pier.
The Florida Highway Patrol has not finished its investigation.
"The story that I had at the time was that he collided with a car, which caused his car to go off the pier," said Vega, the medical examiner. "I didn't hear a story that he turned his car to intentionally head off a pier."
However, Vega said, the crash is odd.
"I would admit to you that you have to wonder why somebody would be driving like that, and I don't have a good explanation," he said. "He might have been thinking about something. Maybe he does have some substances in his body causing him to act irrationally."
McElwaney, Sallee's roommate, said he thinks Sallee suffered a stroke.
"He had every intention of coming home that morning," said McElwaney, who knew Sallee for six years.
The medical examiner said strokes do not show up in an autopsy, and other than signs of some heart disease, Sallee did not appear chronically ill.
McElwaney and Sallee's family plan to spread Sallee's cremated remains over a forest.
"It's hard," McElwaney said, "because I have to walk through the same doors he did every day."
| 12.27.96: 54 vehicle pile-up on skyway
kills one female.
Jane Stumpf, 69
Sarasota Herald-Tribune article image.
12.26.97, Sarasota Herald-Tribune article image. google scan.
| 02.28.88: first responder accidently falls
from bridge during accident service call.
|03.12.12, Daniel Smith, Red Boiling Springs, Tn., I fell off of the bridge on 2-28-88 at approx 3:30 am. while attending to the victims of a terrible crash. At the time I was a fireman for Venice, Fl. I fell near where the cables attach to the bridge on the north side. I thought I only fell about 70 ft but later found that it could have been around 150 ft. I have been the butt of many jokes because I am told it was a "leap year", but several lives were taken by that crash and I will always wonder if I could have done more to help them. Thanks, Dan Smith (retired Lt. Venice Fire Dept) (accidents can and do happen to those responding to accidents. you were indeed lucky to have survived the fall. try to not beat yourself up by thinking you could have done more. you responded, you tried. as for being "the butt of many jokes", consider that they were no doubt brought on by guys that liked you, because that's what guys do. thank you for sharing your story. we checked for a news article, but found nothing.)|
|04.29.87: trawler rams skyway. full article.|
extensive google news scan story.
| 02.07.87: woman drowns after driving off
Linda Robillard, 35
| 05.09.86: accidental skyway death of man.
Charles Bailey, 40
| 08.23.85: man killed in fiery auto crash
Kenneth James Ervin
|11.08.84: barge hits bridge. full article.|
| 10.31.84: skyway worker drowns.
Delray Morris, 25
| 07.30.84: man jumps from bridge when
| 11.28.83: skyway construction worker
Mac Warren Ridings, 51
| 08.08.83: man killed in head-on auto
Clarence P. Peterson, 41
| 07.13.83: head-on crash kills man.
Gerald Kavanagh, 50
|02.14.83: barge hits bridge.|
|11.12.82: barge hits bridge.|
|11.09.82: barge hits bridge.|
| 02.20.82: faller, male
Edward F. Thornton Jr., 17
Hol Yol Choe, 5
Bill, Houston, TX., A little boy who was hit and killed in Jan '81.
In January 1981 (I was 10), a 5 yr old Korean boy (last name Cho)was struck by a car on the southbound lane/fishing pier. He was running between gaurdrails with a bait bucket when I heard brakes screech and his father scream. I did not see the impact. As he lay on the roadway, my dad tried to administer CPR. Cho's lips turned blue, and I kept asking if he was going to be alright, but I know he wouldn't. After nearly 30 minutes, an ambulance took him away. He lived on the next block over from me. I played with him a few times. If anyone ever sees a young boy on the south fishing pier, you know who he is and how he got there. Rest in peace my long, lost friend.
|02.16.80: boat hits bridge.|
|02.06.80: ship hits bridge.|
image links to full article image.
|01.28.80: ship 'capricorn' collides with the coast guard tender 'blackthorn' near skyway, 23 die.|
page article about the accident. 7mb pdf file.
google.com: much more.
| 10.06.79: man crashes car on bridge and
plunges off, dies.
Qays Al-Thaqeb, 18
|05.02.78: almost accident.|
05.13.80: full article.
|05.26.76: boat hits bridge.|
|08.20.73: barge hits bridge.|
|08.31.70: ship hits bridge. full article.|
|06.28.70: auto accident.
Amelia Biasi, 57
|11.20.69: two accidents injure six.|
|11.09.68: auto accident kills
Tommy Lee Harris, 20
|06.20.67: auto accident kills 3, injures 3 others.|
|04.07.64: man killed while fishing.
Ernest Cleveland Porter, 68
|02.19.63: car blown off skyway. full article.
Carl Bohman, 53, dies and wife Irene Bohman, 52, survives.
|skyway incidents articles|
2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997-1954
what's new on old pages
jumpers by name
pictures audio videos
do research for us
owned and operated by philip aisheo and
associates, 1998 and on.