links could be broken at any time. (our comments follow)
|01.10.17: two crashes close bridge|
Skyway: Fire rescue responding to overturned tractor trailer in the northbound lanes. Extrication units responding. Expect delays.
-----Skyway: Reports that the crash involved a Mack Truck full of dirt. Avoid northbound travel on bridge. Unknown time for clean up.
-----Skyway: Now reports of rollover crash in southbound lanes north of bridge. All traffic on the bridge closed in both directions.
-----Skyway: Rescue crews so far reporting all occupants out of both rollover vehicles closing NB and SB lanes of the bridge.
-----Update 11:48AM Skyway: FHP reports northbound all lanes are still blocked; southbound one inside lane/shoulder open at this time.
-----Update 1:20PM: Skyway: Southbound open. Northbound left and center lanes closed according to FHP.
-----ALL lanes reopened as of 2:50 PM
01.10.17, fox13news.com, Skyway Bridge lanes reopen after crashes
TIERRA VERDE (FOX 13) - The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating two separate crashes that blocked traffic on both the northbound and southbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge Tuesday morning.
The first accident happened at 11 a.m. at the 11 mile marker on the Pinellas County side of the bridge. FHP says a Mack dump truck driven by Juan Antonio Rico of St. Petersburg was headed northbound in the outside lane
A Ford F150 had a flat tire and was parked on the outside shoulder. FHP says Rico drove into the emergency lane and hit the F150. The dump truck overturned and spilled a load of dirt on the bridge, causing the northbound lanes to be closed until 2:15 p.m.
Rico was ticketed for careless driving. He suffered minor injuries.
The second happened 10 minutes after the first, in the southbound lanes of the Sykway at the 11 mile marker.
FHP says Meredith J. Killingsworth of Palmetto, was driving a Honda Civic southbound on the bridge. She apparently didn’t notice traffic stopping ahead and she hit the back of a Honda CRV in front of her, pushing the CRV into the outside barrier wall before it overturned.
Both scenes are now cleaned up, but motorists should expect lingering delays as the congestion clears out.
01.10.17, wfla.com, Sunshine Skyway Bridge traffic moving smoothly after 2 accidents
(WFLA) — Traffic was back to normal on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tuesday afternoon, after accidents on both sides of the bridge backed up traffic for many hours.
A Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson said that both accidents happened near milepost 11 around 11:10 a.m.
The northbound crash involved an overturned dump truck with a spilled load of dirt. That crash blocked traffic in the northbound lanes.
A second crash involving two vehicles happened in the southbound lanes near milepost 11. The accident backed up traffic in the southbound lanes.
01.10.17, abcactionnews.com, Dump truck overturns on Skyway Bridge
UPDATE | 4:05 p.m.--
The accident in the northbound lane happened when a car hit a dump truck that was pulled over in the emergency lane due to a flat tire.
The southbound accident happened when a vehicle tried to switch lanes when the vehicle in front of it had stopped.
Only minor injuries were reported in each case.
UPDATE | 2:40 p.m.--
The Skyway has re-opened in both directions.
Original Story | Crews are working to clear an overturned dump truck on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
The dump truck flipped in the northbound lanes and spilled a load of dirt.
It is unknown if the driver was hurt.
Crews are also working to clear an overturned SUV in the southbound lanes.
Expect major delays.
any more info is welcome.
12.30.16: wrong-way driver, 3:43am
Shontel Nicole Chase, 29, female, died, hits Jon Allen Mitchell, 55, male, injured
IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway Bridge: All southbound lanes closed due to fatality crash. Extrication ongoing to remove 2nd person now a trauma alert.
----- Update 6:40AM Skyway: According to FHP, fatal crash claims 1 resulting from wrong-way driver. 2nd victim now listed in stable condition at hospital. All SB lanes remain closed.
Skyway Bridge fatality crash involved wrong-way driver
On December 30th at 3:43 AM, a 2005 Ford 4 door traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge collided nearly head-on with a 2000 GMC pickup near the 8 milepost.
The female driver of the Ford sustained fatal injuries and expired at the scene of the crash. The male driver of the pickup was transported to Blake Medical Center where he is now listed in stable condition.
The southbound lanes of I-275 are closed at 54th Avenue South in Pinellas County.
12.30.16, baynews9.com, Fatal wrong-way crash closes southbound lanes of Sunshine Skyway Bridge
BRADENTON -- The southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge have been closed due to a fatal wrong-way crash.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 4 a.m. on the Manatee County side of the bridge. Troopers said a woman driving a 2005 Ford 4-door sedan collided nearly head on with a 2000 GMC pick-up truck.
The woman died at the scene.
The male driver of the pick-up was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.
Authorities have not said when the lanes would reopen.
St. Petersburg police have southbound access to the skyway blocked at 54th Avenue South.
12.30.16, wfla.com, FHP identifies wrong-way driver killed in crash on Skyway bridge
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – The Florida Highway Patrol has released the names of the drivers involved in a wrong-way crash on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge early Friday morning.
Troopers say Shontel Nicole Chase, 29, was driving a 4-door Ford northbound in the southbound lanes of the bridge around 3:45 a.m.
Investigators say Jon Allen Mitchell, 55, saw Chase heading in his direction and steered his GMC pick-up truck to the right.
Troopers say Chase then steered her car to the left and collided head on with Mitchell’s truck.
Chase died at the scene. Mitchell was taken to Blake Medical Center with critical injuries.
Joseph Finno driving on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when it happened. “It was about a quarter to 4, I was heading southbound, noticed all of a sudden these headlights came up on me real quick. I was in the slow lane at the time, I was in the fast lane,” he said.
“They were driving at a very high rate of speed. I tried to honk my horn, tried to do anything, but obviously they were going at a high rate of speed, but they weren’t really swerving or anything,” he said, recalling what happened.
“I’m just glad the guy in the pickup truck wasn’t hurt, sorry the lady passed but glad the guy in the pickup wasn’t hurt too bad,” he added.
“I immediately stopped and looked to see, make sure everybody else was trying to avoid them, there were a couple of cars that swerved behind me to avoid them”
Chase’s stepfather, Clay Lavoie of New Port Richey, calls it a tragic mistake and doubts his stepdaughter was drinking and that somehow, he says, she became disoriented.
“I asked her and she finally came out and said she was dead,” he said remembering the call Friday morning he had with family after troopers delivered the devastating news.
“No words you want to hear at all. I’m sorry.”
Chase’s family is now left to ask how. How could Chase be driving the wrong way on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge?
“We just don’t understand what and how this happened,” Lavoie told News Channel 8.
The video from toll plaza cameras on the south end of the bridge capture Chase heading north.
Chase’s family apologizes but at the same time knows, an apology is not enough.
“We know that this was not intentionally do at all, whatsoever,” Lavoie told News Channel 8.
Chase does have a record and was charged with DUI back in 2010 but plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
“We want her to be remembered as a good person,” Lavoie said with tears in his eyes. “She’d help anybody.”
Lavoie told News Channel 8 he doesn’t what his stepdaughter was doing in that area at the time of the morning. She had told him she would be planning a party with a friend that was supposed to happen Friday night.
12.30.16, tampabay.com, St. Petersburg hairstylist dies after wrong-way crash on Sunshine Skyway Bridge
The 29-year-old woman who died early Friday morning in a wrong-way crash on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that left another driver hospitalized could have been driving in the wrong direction for two to six miles before the collision, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins said video showed the wrong-way driver, Shontel Nicole Chase, heading north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 275 and going through the toll plaza on the Manatee County side of the bridge on her way to St. Petersburg.
Chase's 2005 Ford Focus then hit a 2000 GMC pick-up truck nearly head-on around 3:40 a.m., the FHP said. The other driver, Jon Allen Mitchell, 55, tried to swerve right to avoid the oncoming vehicle, troopers said. Chase tried to steer left.
Though both drivers tried to avoid hitting each other, their vehicles ended up colliding near the south fishing pier. Chase was pronounced dead at the scene. Mitchell, of Palmetto, was reported to be in critical condition at the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.
The driver's mother, Debra Chase, was inconsolable after she learned of her daughter's death.
"Shonney is gone, Shonney is gone, Shonney is gone," the mother's fiance, Clay Lavoie, recalled her yelling when she shared the news with him on the phone.
From outside their home on Friday, Lavoie described an upbeat future step-daughter who had found stability after financial troubles.
"She had finally gotten on her own two feet," he said. "She had gone through some hard times in the past. She just got her car paid off."
Chase worked as a hairstylist at Tim's Barber Shop in St. Petersburg. She went out with a co-worker Thursday night, Lavoie said, but her family didn't know why she was in Manatee County.
As the sun rose on the crash scene Friday morning, Chase's white Ford was crumpled up against the bridge's wall. The collision sent both vehicles spinning.
Lavoie thought she may have gotten mixed up when pulling out of a nearby rest stop and getting on the interstate.
"It's confusing down there even during the day," he said.
Chase had six driving infractions dating back to 2009, according to state records, including a DUI charge from January 2010. She completed DUI school and substance abuse program.
Gaskins said investigators were still investigating the crash, piecing together how Chase spent her last hours. But it was too early to say whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.
"Right now the corporals are going back to create a trip plan and recreate the 24 hour period leading up to the crash," he said. "Were you at work, sick, healthy, tired?"
Chase grew up in New Port Richey and graduated from Gulf High School. She went on to study hair at the Paul Mitchell School in Tampa. She was close to her mother and doted on her Yorkshire Terrier, Wally.
After just four months working there, Chase had already grown close with her coworkers.
"We're a family here, we're not associates," said Melinda Schneider, the manager at Tim's Barber Shop. "We lost a family member today."
Chase had planned to attend a birthday party Friday night, Lavoie said. Now, he and her mother were dreading having to clean out her apartment.
Mitchell's family could not be reached for comment.
Chase's family planned to take it day-by-day.
"That's all we can do," Lavoie said.
12.31.16, wtsp.com, Only on 10: wrong way crash victim's family says they're not upset at driver
PALMETTO, FL -- The family of a Palmetto man is counting their blessings one day after wrong way driver hit him head on, on the Sunshine Skyway bridge, Friday.
Jon Allen Mitchell's family says he faces a long recovery.
He was driving in a white truck southbound when troopers say the driver of another car was going the wrong way Friday Morning.
The other driver, Shontel Nicole Chase, 29, died in the crash.
“How and why? To see a wrong way driver on the skyway bridge, that was the part we couldn’t put two and two together on how that person would get on the other side,” said his brother, Mitch.
“As of right now, he’s still been going through a lot of surgeries. At this point in time they have him heavily sedated.”
The crash shut down all southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway for more than four hours, causing drivers headed to Manatee County to be redirected through Interstate 75.
According to the crash report, Chase was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash.
It is unknown whether drinking was a factor in the crash, but the FHP report says there was a strong odor of alcohol in her car.
An autopsy report is pending. Mitch says the family is not harboring any hard feelings towards her.
“It’s a life. Anytime a life is taken in that way, it’s no one way to just point a finger and say oh it’s all this person’s fault. At the end of it, one family did lose a family member.”
He further says his brother saw the car coming, but at some point he the headlights of the car cut off and it was tough to avoid it.
any more info is welcome.
|12.19.16: car fire on the bridge.|
12.19.16, bradenton.com, Both lanes of southbound Skyway Bridge reopened after car fire.
Pinellas - Both southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway bridge have reopened after they were blocked after a car fire, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The fire was reported just before 11 a.m. Monday near the southbound exit to the bridge, according to Pinellas County Safety and Emergency Services.
any more info is welcome.
|12.03.16: vehicle crash/incident/mishap|
thank you, jumpnews reporters:
12.03.16, ESP, St Pete, (8:45am), The troops are out looking again:,
12.03.16, Kim E., facebook, Drove over bridge 11am today 12/3 Southbound. Saw several emergency response vehicles (lights on) and 2 FHP officers looking over the side with binoculars. Right next to the red phone at the very top. I pray that it wasn't a jumper.
any more info is welcome.
pinellascounty.org/911, skyway activity,
12.03.16 , pcsoweb.com/activecallsdetails,
12.03.16 , flhsmv.gov/fhp,
12.03.16, Hillsborough Sheriff, SUICIDE ATTEMPT, SKYWAY BG, 1110, 1144, 0h34m
IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway: Unconfirmed report received of a vehicle off the bridge into the water from the northbound lanes south of the hump.
They are working with the man who called to report this incident. USCG helo enroute. Still unconfirmed.
After a lengthy search, Skyway Bridge rescuers determined that no vehicle entered that water. Reported smoke may have been from a blown out tire.
Skyway: Multiple agencies now responding to reports of a boater locating a
body against the rocks under the bridge
12.03.16, tampabay.com, Officials find body under Sunshine Skyway Bridge
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida Highway Patrol troopers Saturday found the body of a woman who jumped from the Sunshine Skyway bridge earlier in the week.
Authorities originally went to the scene after a caller falsely reported a car going off the bridge into the bay, FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins said.
In the process of trying to find the car, which they later learned did not go into the bay, troopers recovered a body from the rocks below the bridge.
"We believe it is a female who jumped from the bridge earlier this week," Gaskins said.
The woman was not identified.
12.03.16, bradenton.com, Body found under Sunshine Skyway Bridge, FHP says
St. Petersburg — A body has been found under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Authorities were originally called Saturday after a vehicle reportedly went off the bridge into the bay.
While officials were searching for the car, they found a female body located along the rocks, according to FHP. No car was found in the bay.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. (there will be no updates.)
|10.27.16: car fire on the bridge.|
IONTBfb/iontb.com, Crews cleaning up after putting out vehicle fire in southbound lanes on the Skyway.
10.27.16, bradenton.com, Pinellas - A vehicle was reported on fire on Interstate 275 south on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge , according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers were dispatched to the scene at 2:14 p.m. Thursday. Troopers said smoke is in the area and encouraged motorists to be cautious.
All lanes are currently blocked, according to a tweet from the Florida Department of Transportation.
any more info is welcome.
07.28.16: car fire on the bridge.
James Preston, 59
IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway: Northbound lanes closed due to this car fire. Avoid the area.
later: All lanes reopened as of 5PM. later: 59 year-old James Preston of Palmetto was traveling in the inside northbound lane of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approaching MM14. The right rear tire malfunctioned and Preston lost control of the Chrysler Pacifica departing the travel lane and collided with the outside barrier wall. Following the crash, the vehicle then became engulfed in fire. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue responded and extinguished the fire.
07.28.16, wfla.com, NB lanes of Sunshine Skyway Bridge reopen after crash
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The northbound lanes on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge reopened Thursday afternoon after a fiery crash.
Northbound lanes were closed for about an hour. According to officials, the tire on a driver’s 2010 Chevy Pacific minivan blew out, forcing the driver to lose control and crash into barrier wall.
The driver, James Preston, 59, was able to escape from the vehicle before it burst into flames.
Preston managed to walk away uninjured in the crash.
any more info is welcome.
|07.12.16: 4000 gallon diesel tanker fire, southbound, lower approach|
thank you, tanker fire news reporter:
07.12.16, Sandra B.,
(bring enough guys? acronyms)
any more info is welcome.
07.12.16, IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway: All lanes of the bridge being closed due to tanker fire full of 4 thousand gallons of diesel fuel. Driver with minor injuries.
07.12.16, wfla.com, Southbound lanes of Sunshine Skyway Bridge closed due to tanker fire.
07.12.16, bradenton.com, Sunshine Skyway bridge closed because of tanker fire.
07.12.16, tampabay.com, Crews examining stability of Sunshine Skyway Bridge after tanker truck fire.
|06.15.16: crash at the top.|
thank you, crash at the top news reporter:
06.15.16, Sherri, southbound side
any more info is welcome.
|03.09.16: crash near the top.|
thank you, crash near the top news reporter:
03.09.16, Chris N., What's going on here?
any more info is welcome.
|03.09.16, IONTBfb/iontb.com, Skyway Bridge: FHP on scene of traffic crash in the southbound lanes with road blockage. Fire rescue responding. ------ Police and fire activity atop the southbound lanes of the Skyway Bridge. 3 vehicle crash with injuries prior to hump|
|09.06.15: sunshine skyway reopened after crash.|
wtsp.com, All lanes of the Sunshine Skyway bridge were reopened Sunday afternoon following a traffic accident with injuries, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
Lanes were blocked for at least two hours Sunday as FHP worked a crash investigation.
According to a FHP post on Twitter, a truck rolled over after a tire blowout and blocked both southbound lanes.
|08.26.15: accident north bound top of skyway.|
thank you, accident news reporters:
08.26.15, Amber, St. Petersburg, Skyway North bound lanes are backed up. Possible jumper.
08.26.15, IONTBfb/iontb.com, Accident north bound top of skyway just about cleared up.
| 08.16.15: Single-vehicle crash on the Skyway Bridge; No injuries.
Cyquaile Quayton, 21
wtsp.com, The right lane of the south of the Skyway Bridge was closed for an hour following a single-vehicle crash Saturday evening.
Driver Cyquaile Quayton, 21, of Bradenton lost control of his Buick LeSabre at mile-marker 9 of the Skyway Bridge while attempting to change lanes. The Buick ran onto the outside shoulder and struck a concrete barrier wall in the area of the Manatee County rest area.
Three passengers in the car were also not injured.
Quayton was charged with Careless Driving, No Proof of Insurance, Expired Registration More than 6 months and No Driver's License. (no doubt this floridiot is back on the road in no time.)
|07.28.15: RV fire in the northbound lanes of I-275 at the base of the hump.|
|07.28.15, Hillsborough Sheriff, REFER - FIRE RESCUE, SKYWAY BRIDGE|
| 06.26.14: woman in critical condition after skyway bridge crash.
Alice Marie Donahue, 67
PINELLAS — A driver was critically injured during a traffic crash at 4 p.m. Thursday that blocked the northbound outside lane of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
A 67-year-old woman from Dunedin reportedly crashed into two unoccupied vehicles parked at the top of the bridge. The woman’s identity has not been released.
The injured woman was driving a 2009 Chevy pickup northbound on Interstate 275 in the outside lane approaching the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The vehicle apparently drifted out of the travel lane and entered the outside paved shoulder.
The pickup reportedly collided with the left rear of a 2009 Ford -F150 truck and continued northbound before colliding with the left-rear corner of a 2000 Ford F-650. The stricken vehicles were properly parked on the shoulder for construction and maintenance on the bridge, according to the FHP.
The injured woman's truck partially blocked the outside lane of the bridge after the crash, FHP reported. The woman was transported to Bayfront Medical Center with critical injuries.
Sgt. Steve Gaskins, FHP public affairs officer, said charges against the woman are pending.
|10.31.13: no injuries after three-vehicle accident on sunshine skyway.|
tampabay.com, Three vehicles were involved in a crash near the top of the Sunshine Skyway bridge early Thursday, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins said.
Gaskins said the accident occurred about 7:13 a.m. in the northbound lane just north of the hump. No injuries were reported and the bridge was clear, despite rush hour timing that usually leads to heavy traffic over the tollway.
|10.31.13, Hillsborough Sheriff, TRAFFIC CRASH - WITH INJURIES, SKYWAY BG, 0714, 0727|
|05.25.13: driver flees from skyway accident.|
heraldtribune.com, SUNSHINE SKYWAY - The Florida Highway Patrol is seeking
information regarding the driver of a pickup truck who was driving erratically
this morning on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and hit another vehicle before
leaving the scene of the accident.
According to an FHP report, Ramon Munoz, 40, of Tampa was driving in the southbound right lane around 1:50 a.m. when he saw the truck in the left lane lose control and swerve into the center concrete wall, then swerve to the right, striking the left rear of Munoz’ 2004 Subaru Forester before leaving the scene without stopping.
A toll taker at the north toll booth tried to take down the truck’s license plate number, but investigators found no record of the number given, which was Florida plate BID 972. No skid marks from the accident were found.
The truck was described as a small white pickup, driven by a white male. The truck was damaged in the front.
Anyone with information about the truck or the driver should contact Trooper Barbara Ehrhart at 941-751-8350.
any more info is welcome.
|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, van flipping news
tampabay.com, 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]
|06.10.08: highway patrol id's 2 men involved in skyway crash.|
tbo.com, TAMPA - The Florida Highway Patrol has released the names of the
drivers involved in a crash on the Sunshine Skyway bridge early this morning.
Troopers said Carl Green, 60, of Riverview, had parked his VHP Enterprises work truck on the inside northbound lane and was inspecting barricades near the hump of the bridge. A dump truck driven by Donald Williamson, 36, of Hernando Beach, struck the rear of Green's truck, then hit the concrete barrier wall just before 1 a.m., a news release states.
Several barricades were destroyed, scattering debris in the northbound lanes, and the gas tanks of both trucks ruptured, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Northbound traffic was diverted at the south toll booth in Manatee County until hazardous material crews cleaned up the fuel. All lanes were reopened just after 5 a.m.
Neither driver was taken to a hospital. No charges have been filed.
|02.24.05: wreck 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, wreak on skyway news
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, news clippings, 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
everyone's 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
guy gets thrown off the bridge news
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.)
baynews9.com, 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.
09.15.04, © 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
A rush hour wreck that snarled traffic on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tuesday morning for three hours turned into a mystery for investigators: The driver vanished.
The 2002 Chrysler was going north on Interstate 275 in the inside lane going over the bridge around 6:50 a.m. when the driver crossed over to the outside lane, went onto the paved shoulder and struck the outside wall, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The vehicle flew into the air, turned counterclockwise, rolled over and hit the inside concrete barrier wall. Troopers at the scene searched the Chrysler but there was no one inside, said FHP spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins. He said anyone inside the vehicle either fell into the water below or rode off in another vehicle before rescue workers arrived. But a number of witnesses arrived quickly at the scene and saw no passenger on the ground or climbing into another vehicle.
"We're fearing the worst - that he or she went over the side," Coggins said. "From the crash to the time it came to rest, passing motorists did not see anyone leaving the scene. No one saw him lying on the road or taking off."
The Coast Guard searched the water but found nothing, Coggins said. FHP says the Chrysler is registered to a Bradenton man, but as of Tuesday evening troopers hadn't determined whether he was driving it at the time of the crash.
"We can't rule out that someone else was driving the car," Coggins said. The car had not been reported stolen, he added.
Coggins said law enforcement officials have been unable to locate the owner of the Chrysler, whom he would not identify, or his family.
09.16.04, St. Petersburg Times, Owner of crashed, empty car missing, By JAY CRIDLIN and DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN
TAMPA - Authorities now have a face and name to look for in their effort to solve the mystery of the missing driver, who vanished after a car crashed on the Sunshine Skyway bridge Tuesday morning.
Florida Highway Patrol officials said the parents of 25-year-old Christopher Henry of Bradenton reported him missing. Henry owns the 2002 Chrysler sedan that crashed. No driver was found in the vehicle.
Authorities think the driver was either picked up by a passing motorist or was thrown into the waters below.
"All arrows are pointing to him in the water," said FHP spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins, "but we can't speculate anything, and we can't rule anything out yet."
The crash occurred about 6:50 a.m. According to reports, the car was going north in the bridge's inside lane when it crossed over to the outside lane, went onto the paved shoulder and struck the outside wall. The car went airborne, turning counterclockwise, landed and rolled over and hit the inside concrete barrier wall.
No one was found in the car. The Coast Guard searched surrounding waters and came up empty.
Henry was arrested in 1996 on a charge of cocaine possession. In 1999, he was sentenced to four years in prison on a charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was released on Dec. 9, 2002.
09.16.04, © The Bradenton Herald, Officers search for crash victim, BRIAN HAAS, Herald Staff Writer
Investigators are still searching for a Bradenton man who may have been thrown from the Sunshine Skyway bridge in a traffic crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the owner of a 2002 Chrysler sedan that smashed into the bridge's wall Tuesday morning as Christopher M. Henry, 25.
The Chrysler hit the wall and flipped over near the top of the bridge. When rescuers arrived, a driver could not be found, leading them to believe the driver was either ejected over the bridge's wall or picked up by another driver.
Trooper Larry Coggins Jr., spokesman for the FHP, said investigators are still unsure if Henry was the one driving the car.
"We're not ruling anything out yet, the crash is still under investigation," Coggins said.
Betty Lewis, Henry's mother in Oneco, declined comment.
A two-hour search by the U.S. Coast Guard in the waters below the Skyway turned up nothing Tuesday. Coggins said no bodies had been found Wednesday in local waterways.
Brian Haas, public safety reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 7024
YOU CAN HELP • Anyone with information about Tuesday morning's Skyway crash is asked to call Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Will Jarvis at (727) 570-5010.
09.17.041, baynews9.com, Investigators link body to Skyway accident.
The accident happened Tuesday. Investigators say they have confirmed the body of a man found off Egmont Key is the person who drove a car that hit a guardrail on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Tuesday.
After the driver hit the rail, the car flipped over.
When investigators arrived on the scene, the driver was not in the vehicle.
Investigators believe the driver may have been ejected from the car during the crash and was thrown into the water.
The victim was 25-year-old Christopher Henry of Bradenton, who had been reported missing since the crash. His body was found Thursday.
|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".)|
02.01.03: full article
|05.03.01: full article|
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