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skyway bridge incidents
|03.16.13: off duty st. pete. police officer shot at in drive-by on skyway.|
stpete.patch.com, An off duty St. Petersburg Police officer
driving home around 4:30 a.m. Saturday was shot at in a drive-by shooting on the
Skyway Bridge by the south side fishing pier ramp.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office said the officer, whose name is not being released at this time, was still in uniform and wearing a windbreaker with "Police" clearly noticeable on his sleeves at the time of the shooting.
According to the sheriff's office report, the officer said an older model blue Honda pulled up beside him and fired a single shot. The officer reported only hearing one shot followed by his driver side window being shattered.
The officer, according to authorities, was able to radio dispatch.
Responding units searched the area, but the suspect's vehicle was not located. The officer was treated by EMS, and he sustained minor cuts to his face due to the shattering of the glass.
The investigation is ongoing at the time.
Anyone with information about this crime can call the 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS (8477).
any more info is welcome. thanks Sandy W. on facebook.
|01.01.13: car thief escapes after chase on skyway bridge.|
MANATEE COUNTY - A suspect in a stolen car led deputies on a high-speed chase
through Manatee County onto the Skyway Bridge on Tuesday night. The car, stolen
out of Sarasota County, was spotted driving east on 26th Avenue East from 9th
Street. Deputies attempted a traffic stop at 2500 15th Street East but the
suspect vehicle accelerated and deputies pursued. The chase went through
Bradenton, Palmetto and onto the Skyway Bridge. The pursuit was cancelled on the
Skyway Bridge after the suspect vehicle reached speeds over 100 mph.
(hard to imagine a scenario where one could escape by
driving over the bridge at any speed. "well, he's on the bridge, nothing we can
do now. damn, too bad we don't have some sort of magic flying machine so we could follow
that car.") comments follow article:
- Melissa M., Valrico, Florida, now why the hell couldn't they have had LE on the North, St Pete end of the bridge waiting for this person? I mean, I'm no Einstein but that seems like a pretty logical solution. Spike strips, road block...somethin'. Geez.
- Patrick McC., I'm pretty sure they don't do "pursuits" up there. Too "dangerous", let the bad guys run so no one gets hurt. And they do because they know the cops won't chase them.
- George J. H., I think his point is, you call St. Pete and tell them to stop the skyway traffic at the other end. You can`t get off the bridge if there are cop cars blocking the road.
- Gary J., The Sheriff's helicopter must have been busy circling the beach looking for pot smokers instead of chasing car thieves!
- Rick B., North Port, Florida, Somebody dropped the ball!
- Gary P., ever hear of RADIOS?
01.04.13, Richard, Bradenton, The reason Manatee called off the pursuit is because St Pete PD and Pinellas county refused to assist with stop sticks. No point of chasing someone at 100mph speeds if you can't slow him down, then some innocent bystander gets killed in an accident. (that would excuse manatee pd, but not sppd. the fact this clown was blazing across the bridge should be reason enough to at least utilize any of the helicopters that are at the ready for situations like this. maybe Gary J. called it right. perhaps the manatee pd should have called the local news instead. bet they'd be willing to fly their copters over that car.)
any more info is welcome.
|08.05.12: boating incident|
08.05.12, tom, bradenton, fl., (08.05.12, 1:15pm), saw police activity on top of
the skyway with a few ambulances. Not sure if a jumper or medical emergency did
not notice a vehicle.
08.05.12, anon, (08.05.12, 1:30pm), drove on skyway 1:30pm coast guard boats around bridge. firefighters looking below at water. many ambulances
08.05.12, zolter, facebook, Current activity on skyway related to a water rescue. Not related to a jumper. Capsized canoe/kayak. People holding onto bridge pilings. (thanks for the clarification.)
any more info is welcome.
Hillsborough County Sheriff, CONTACT MESSAGE - NO CONTACT MADE, 1 SKYWAY
BG, 1323, 1415
08.05.12, flhsmv.gov, Suicide dispatched 11:10 AM arrived 11:10 AM PINELLAS SUNSHINE SKYWAY [TOP OF SB SIDE] CONTACT FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE FOR MORE INFORMATION (we were curious why the florida fish and wildlife became the skyway bridge suicide go-to agency.)
11.13.11: body found near skyway.
Bang Quoc Luong, 35
thank you, incidentnews
11.13.11, shepdog of skyway lane, st pete, fl., (11.13.11, 1:00pm), pinallas county dispatched FB11, ECSR and FFWC an engine and the district cheif from downtown to grid 723S. This is the standard dispatch for a jumper.
11.15.11, Jack M., Tampa, FL., Maybe the vehicles were dispatched because of this guy:
11.15.11, tampabay.com, Missing St. Petersburg man found dead off Anna Maria coast
By Marissa Lang, Times Staff Writer
ANNA MARIA — A missing 35-year-old man with schizophrenia was found dead in the water near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the weekend.
Bang Quoc Luong, 35, of St. Petersburg was discovered by boaters off the coast of Anna Maria Island, near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, on Saturday.
He had been missing from his 58th Avenue N home since Nov. 7, when Pinellas County deputies said he walked away from his home.
Luong, who suffers from schizophrenia and auditory hallucinations, had a history of wandering off, family members said, but he usually came home. When family members failed to find him at all the places he usually visits, they grew concerned, deputies said.
Luong was not on his medications at the time of his disappearance, officials said.
Manatee County deputies said there is no sign of foul play in Luong's death.
Because Luong's body was in advanced stages of decomposition, it is likely he had been in the water for days before the sailors discovered him, said Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow. The boaters pulled him from the water and took him to Kingfish boat ramp in Holmes Beach, where they were met by authorities.
It was not clear how Luong ended up as far south as Manatee County, officials said. No cause of death was immediately available. An autopsy is being performed.
any more info is welcome.
| 04.24.11: body found near skyway.
Kyung Yang, 67
wtsp.com, St. Petersburg, Florida - The search has ended near the Sunshine
Skyway Bridge after a witness on the fishing pier last night, heard cries for
Rescuers found a man's body around noon.
A boat from Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg and a helicopter from Coast Guard Station Clearwater searched the water near the bridge.
Marine units from the Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee Sheriff's Offices are also assisted.
A woman on the fishing pier heard a man's voice screaming for help and grew fainter as time went by.
Investigators do not believe the man jumped from the bridge and are trying to determine how he got into the water.
04.27.11, tbo.com, Detectives identify body found in bay on Monday
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives have identified a body found in Tampa Bay on Monday.
Kyung Yang, 67, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was found floating in the bay shortly after 10 a.m. Monday by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office marine unit, according to a media release.
According to the release:
Yang was found floating about a mile east of the Skyway Bridge, just south of the main shipping channel. His was turned over to the Coast Guard and taken to O'Neill's Marine. There does not appear to be any obvious signs of trauma. The body has been turned over to the Medical Examiner's Office.
Anyone with any information about Yang is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity of the victim and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).
|04.25.11, Hillsborough County Sheriff,, DECEASED PERSON, SKYWAY BG, 1008, 1409, 4h01m|
|09.17.09: skyway bomb threat|
examiner.com, Sunshine Skyway Bridge reopens after bomb threat,
Charisse Van Horn, Tampa Crime Examiner
September 18, 2009 - A bomb scare shut down the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for approximately 2 hours late Thursday evening, September 17, 2009. At approximately 10:30 p.m., a truck driver called the Manatee Sheriff’s Office to report a conversation that he had with a man over his CB radio.
According to the caller, the man he was speaking with stated a bomb was located on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and that it was set to detonate at 11:15 p.m. Due to the threat, the bridge was shut down in both directions and authorities searched diligently for 2 hours. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Coast Guard, and Florida Highway Patrol conducted the search.
After it was determined that it was a false alarm and that no bomb was present in the vicinity, the bridge was reopened at 12:30 a.m., early Friday morning.
| 10.01.08: man slips on sardines, falls
into tampa bay
Richard Allen Khoory, 47
theledger.com, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008
at 3:23 p.m.
ST. PETERSBURG | A 47-year-old Mulberry man who fell from the south fishing pier of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and into Tampa Bay Wednesday morning was not injured, according to the St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Marine Unit.
Rescuers said Richard Allen Khoory slipped on sardines he was using for bait while fishing on the pier and fell in.
The Coast Guard scooped Khoory out of the water and took him to shore, where Manatee County paramedics examined him and found him not injured. (when sardines attack! not an incident of staggering proportions, just somewhat humorous. this isn't really newsworthy, yet gets reported, while actual jumper news get ignored. that's our biased media, hardly at work. we are glad mr. khoory was fine after the coasties used their people scooper on him.)
12.14.07: skyway gun suicide after family murders.
Oliver Thomas Bernsdorff
10.19.05: motorist drives to the skyway with a body
lodged in his windshield.
Ralph Parker, 93
The driver is 93 years old, which raises the question: Is there a better way to decide who is fit to drive?
ST. PETERSBURG - Ralph Parker had shown signs of dementia before, but his condition worsened dramatically over the past week. Argumentative one minute, calm the next.
Alarmed, Parker's son left Idaho on Wednesday to get his 93-year-old father in a safe place, police said.
Before he could get here, his dad backed his gold Chevrolet Malibu out of the driveway and went for a drive.
It ended horribly. Parker hit a man crossing 34th Street S, severing the man's right leg, then drove 3 miles with the body stuck in the windshield.
When police asked Parker what happened, he said the body seemed to drop from the sky.
Parker thought it was December and that he was headed home to Pinellas Park, not south toward the Sunshine Skyway bridge, police said.
The case is an extreme example of a complicated and enduring issue in Florida and everywhere: When is someone too old to drive? Experts say there is no reliable test or quick answer.
Unless something changes, they say, the problem will only get worse.
Julia Zumpf was driving south on 34th Street about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when she saw the gold Malibu unsteady in the road.
Drunken driver, she thought.
Then Zumpf, 44, saw a pedestrian step off the center median and head across the three-lane road.
"He didn't even walk straight across, he walked at a 45-degree angle toward the cars," Zumpf. "It reminded me of some cocky kid who walks in front of you."
The driver of the Malibu slammed on his brakes, Zumpf said.
She thought the driver missed him but suddenly she heard a crash and saw a leg flying in front of her blue Buick LeSabre.
"It went at least one story in the air," she said.
His shoe then popped off before the limb came to a rest on a strip of grass west of the street, in front of Howard Johnson's.
The driver kept going, as if not realizing what happened, Zumpf said. She drove several blocks, trying to locate the body, thinking it rolled off the car, and called 911.
"I thought it was just a hit-and-run," she said.
The body was still on the Malibu. The head and shoulders were punched through the windshield, the torso slung backward over the hood.
Three miles later, the car approached the Sunshine Skyway toll bridge. As Parker decelerated, the body slumped entirely inside, the man's face pushed up against the dash.
The macabre scene looked like a Halloween prank to the toll taker. Then she saw the blood.
Police had not released the name of the victim as of late Thursday.
He was 52 and lived at the Crystal Inn across the street from the scene of the accident. The man, often seen begging for money on 54th Avenue S, was going to McDonald's for something to eat, police said.
Residents at the hotel said his first name was Rudy. They said he was a hard drinker, but a decent man with long ties to St. Petersburg.
* * *
The fractured windshield obscuring his view, and blood streaming down the console, Parker told police he did not realize what happened until he reached the tollbooth.
Even then, he thought a body dropped from above, perhaps a pedestrian overpass, said St. Petersburg police Officer Michael Jockers.
"He may have somewhere in his mind have realized it was a crash, but immediately forgot about it," Jockers said.
Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, said it was unlikely the state would file charges.
No final decision will be made until the police investigation is completed.
To charge Parker with leaving the scene of a crash, prosecutors would have to prove he knew or should have known there was an accident. Additionally, he would have to be mentally competent to stand trial. Parker did not appear to know what happened, where he was or why he was there when he spoke with police officers, Bartlett said.
Jockers took Parker's driver's license. Short of having the state take it away forever, Parker will have to take a test to show he is still competent behind the wheel.
Parker hasn't been cited for any serious driving incidents during the past seven years, according to state records. His history is clean except for an expired tag. He last renewed his license in 2003, at the age of 91. It was set to expire in 2010.
A spokesman for the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said the agency would conduct its own inquiry into whether Parker should have had a license.
"We will investigate this vigorously to see how this could have been prevented, if at all," said spokesman Frank Penela.
* * *
In recent years, experts have sounded warnings about the risks of elderly drivers and the need for more comprehensive screenings. A state report released last year said Florida was facing a "critical situation with its aging population: the mature at-risk driver."
The issue has gotten more attention because older drivers are living longer, buoyed by better medical treatment.
Last year, nearly 270,000 people age 85 or older were licensed to drive in Florida. Of those, at least 20 percent are considered "dementia drivers," with a mild to moderate condition, according to a 2004 state report.
Yet Florida, like many states, has no comprehensive system for evaluating whether older residents should be on the road.
The only age-related requirement is that seniors age 80 or older must pass a vision test when renewing their license, generally every six years.
That went into effect Jan. 1, 2004, two months after Parker last renewed his license.
But vision tests do not reveal other factors that affect driving, such as Alzheimer's disease, side effects from medication and chronic health problems.
While Florida and other states say they would welcome more comprehensive screening, no reliable test exists.
"There's no foolproof way to predict someone's ability to drive safely," said Dennis McCarthy, co-director for the National Older Driver Research and Training Center at the University of Florida.
"Many seniors can and do drive well," said Susan Samson of the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas.
Experts generally agree about the need for a road driving test. But even that is a snapshot in time that might not indicate whether a driver will forget to take his medication or lose mental alertness.
Additionally, more comprehensive state testing would be expensive and time-consuming.
"If you've lived in Florida for a long time, you know we revolt when the lines at the DMV get too long," Samson said.
State driver license examiners are trained to look for signs of mental or physical impairment and can request the driver to take additional tests.
But mostly, the state relies on doctors, residents, family and neighbors to report potentially unsafe drivers.
In those cases, the state conducts its own examination and a medical board determines whether to pull a license.
Doctors can be crucial in determining a person's ability to drive. In Florida, reporting is voluntary. Other states require it. California, for example, demands that medical professionals report all patients who have disorders that can cause "lapses of consciousness," including Alzheimer's disease. A physician who fails to report a required condition can be held liable for damages.
Pulling someone's license is serious business, especially for the elderly, experts say.
Many older residents need a car to get groceries, fill prescriptions, continue social lives. Some drive when they shouldn't because they feel they have no choice - a lack of public transportation, for example.
The loss of a driver's license can lead to a downward spiral, as people stop eating, taking their medications and become isolated.
Giving up a license also comes with a psychological cost.
"Losing your ability to drive is one of the toughest things," McCarthy said. "It tells us we're not healthy, we're not young, we're not capable."
Additionally, McCarthy points out that situations like Parker's don't happen often.
Older drivers are involved in far fewer accidents than other drivers, such as teens.
"There's a tendency to sensationalize these types of incidents," he said. "Although this one sounds very tragic, they are very few and far between."
* * *
Parker was taken to Bayfront Medical Center for evaluation. He suffered only minor scrapes from the accident, but his dementia was cause for concern, Jockers said.
"He can't even remember the name of the nurse that's been taking care of him all day," Jockers said.
Parker's son, 66-year-old R. Thomas Parker Jr., spoke with police investigators on Thursday, relaying his father's recent bouts of dementia.
The son could not be reached Thursday, and Jockers said he wished to be left alone. A daughter, who lives in Pennsylvania, declined to comment when reached by the St. Petersburg Times.
Their father is a longtime resident of the Mainlands of Tamarac, a 55 and older community off U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park. Neighbors said Parker and his wife, Hazel, moved there in the late 1970s and were active members of the community, attending dances and bingo. When his wife died in June 1998, Parker withdrew. About the only time people saw him was when he would drive by.
It seemed his one pleasure.
"That was the one thing he had," said Jockers, "to get in his car and just drive for the sheer enjoyment of driving."
John Logan, who perhaps knew Parker best, said about six weeks ago he noticed newspapers piling up in Parker's driveway. He feared the worst but phoned his neighbor. To his relief, Parker answered.
"Oh, the newspapers. Yeah, I'll have to get them," Parker told Logan, the last conversation between the two men.
"He kind of sloughed it off and said, "I've been doing other things.' "
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.
|11.17.04: bus passengers prevent a skyway
disaster when driver dies.
Thomas Grove, 61
Passengers stop bus from falling off bridge, Driver dies from possible heart
© St. Petersburg Times,
Bus riders step up to avert a Skyway disaster. When the driver loses
consciousness near the top of the bridge, passengers struggle to stop the bus.
By JAMIE THOMPSON, Published November 18, 2004
thank you, jumpnews contributor, bill e., brandon, fl.
|07.01.02: "suspicious package" thrown off skyway?|
sptimes.com, Phone call shuts Skyway,
By CURTIS KRUEGER and ALICIA CALDWELL, published July 2, 2002
After shutting down the Sunshine Skyway for an hour Monday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said it had discovered nothing to bolster a caller's claim that two men threw a suspicious package off the bridge.
About 40 law enforcement officers from various agencies converged on the bridge shortly after the 8:50 a.m. incident. They searched for the men and the package, but didn't find either, said Lt. Mike Rushing, of the FHP in Manatee County.
A driver using a cellular phone made the call, saying the men were of Middle Eastern descent and driving a pickup. State troopers and other authorities quickly began looking for the supposed package, or for any ropes that might have been used to lower it or tie it to the bridge, or any other evidence.
"Nothing was found," said Rick Morera, spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Investigators interviewed the caller later Monday. Asked whether they believed the caller had accurately reported what he saw, or thought he saw, FHP Lt. Sterling King said authorities would determine "whether he was being accurate or whether he was making a false report."
But King stressed Monday afternoon that he knew "nothing to refute" a belief that the caller had good intentions. Officials would not release any information about the caller.
King said it was rare for the FHP to receive a call alleging terrorism. The incident came three days before the July Fourth holiday, at a time when federal officials have been warning the public and law enforcement to be alert for possible terrorist activity.
Once the call came in Monday, authorities swarmed the bridge.
State troopers drove over the Skyway, as other traffic was routed off the bridge spanning Tampa Bay. A Coast Guard helicopter soared above it.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard and St. Petersburg Fire Rescue personnel sailed underneath. They looked for anything that might have been tied underneath the bridge. They also searched the water where the package might have dropped, "to see if anything was floating in the water, or maybe it sank," King said.
These checks turned up nothing. No one other than the cell phone caller reported seeing anything suspicious, King said.
But an investigation was continuing Monday. Investigators were preparing to review videotape that routinely records happenings on the skyway.
Along with the bridge, the shipping channel also was closed, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Paul Rhynard. Officials at Tampa International Airport issued a temporary flight restriction over the bridge, but no commercial flights from the airport were affected.
A Coast Guard helicopter, a cutter and two other boats were used in the search. A St. Petersburg Fire/Rescue Department boat also was dispatched.
The incident delayed the departure of the Cisne Branco, a Brazilian vessel that was part of the tall-ships festival in St. Petersburg over the weekend, said Jack Glasure, president of St. Petersburg Events, which organized Americas' Sail 2002.
That meant Gene and Bev Simmet had to wait a little longer to see the ship, as they sat in their Pontiac in a rest area just north of the bridge. But the Simmets, who are retired and live in Clearwater, said they didn't mind the wait.
Tom Hafely, 44, was casting into the water on the fishing pier on the Pinellas side of the bay Monday morning when he saw police vehicles speeding up the Skyway and helicopters circling.
"Two little kids said they heard up at the shack that there was a bomb threat," Hafely said. He and Shawn Ahearn, 38, who is visiting from Pittsburgh, discussed what to do. But they figured that even if there was a boom, there wasn't much they could do.
So they kept on fishing.
"If it's a nuke, it's too bad," Hafely quipped.
07.02.02, sptimes.com, Man whose calls closed Skyway is arrested
By MIKE BRASSFIELD and LEANORA MINAI, published July 3, 2002
Investigators had their doubts from the beginning.
First, the caller who reported that two Middle Eastern men had thrown a suspicious package off the Sunshine Skyway bridge was able to provide details about the size and contents of the box, despite driving 70 mph.
Second, the caller said he passed the pickup carrying the two men in the middle of the bridge, but that the pickup overtook him by the end of the bridge.
"That's a little difficult to understand, how you're going 70 mph and someone can blow right by you," said Rick Morera, spokesman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
On Tuesday, authorities arrested John Irving Taylor III, a 42-year-old Pinellas Park fisherman and plumber, and accused him of staging a hoax that caused a nightmare for countless Monday morning commuters.
State officials say Taylor's arrest on felony charges should send a message to anyone who considers reporting a fake terrorist threat.
"These kinds of activities are not going to be tolerated," Morera said. "You're talking about a threat against a major piece of infrastructure here that's vitally important."
Taylor was in the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday, his bail set at $20,000. He is charged with making a false report of a bombing or arson against state-owned property.
According to state law, Taylor, if convicted, must pay restitution to the law enforcement agencies that sent 40 officers to the Skyway on Monday morning.
The bridge was shut down for an hour as officers swarmed over and under it, checking for explosives. They turned up nothing.
The incident came three days before the July Fourth holiday, at a time when federal officials have been warning the public and law enforcement to be alert for possible terrorist activity.
At 8:41 a.m. Monday, Taylor called 911 and asked the Pinellas County operator to hook him up with the FBI, according to an arrest report. Taylor told authorities that he saw two Middle Eastern men in a pickup throw a box off the bridge.
Investigators became suspicious after hearing inconsistencies in Taylor's statements, Morera said.
Taylor admitted to investigators Tuesday that he made two prank calls, but he did not give a reason, Morera said.
That's what Taylor's neighbors in Pinellas Park were wondering Tuesday: Why would he do that?
"I don't get it. Maybe he wanted attention," said Larry Paisley, who lives across the street from him.
Taylor lives with his wife and three children in a rented house at 5420 96th Ter., a pleasant suburban street filled with well-manicured lawns. No one was at the house Tuesday.
Neighbors don't know the Taylors well.
"She was with the children, and he was by himself all the time," Paisley said. "They're very weird. Very strange people. They never go anywhere together."
Taylor has a criminal record but had not been in trouble for 15 years. He pleaded no contest in 1986 to carrying a concealed weapon and pleaded guilty to delivery and possession of marijuana in the early 1980s.
FDLE agents canvassed Taylor's neighborhood on Monday evening, asking neighbors about his whereabouts that morning. They were trying to figure out whether Taylor had been home Monday morning instead of on the Skyway.
"They wanted to know if I had seen his white van in front of the house that morning," said neighbor Tony Kieta.
The state investigators were persistent, said neighbor Joanie Van Wagner.
"It was pouring down rain, and they were going door to door," she said, "so we knew it was something big."
|03.07.01: skyway bomb threat|
sptimes.com, Tampa Bay briefs - Bomb threat closes Sunshine Skyway briefly
A bomb threat closed the Sunshine Skyway bridge for 30 minutes Tuesday while law enforcement officials searched by foot and boat for suspicious objects.
LLt. Harold Frear of the Florida Highway Patrol said the threats, one to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and two to the Hillsborough County Sherriff's Office, were hoax phone calls. The bridge was closed at 11 a.m.
01.04.01: Man dies after shooting self
Richard Boicheff, 65
|01.05.01, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, A Sarasota man died Thursday morning after he apparently shot himself at the fishing pier on the Manatee County side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Richard Boicheff, 65, 2600 block Moccasin Hollow Road, died after being taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with a gunshot wound to the head, Manatee County sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow said. A passer-by found Boicheff in his car just after 9 a.m. Paramedics arrived shortly afterward, authorities Complete Article ($2.95) (no, we think we have enough of your pay-per-view nonsense.)|
|05.24.98: 10,000-pound tractor tumbles off skyway|
sptimes.com, By JAMES HARPER, © St. Petersburg Times, published
May 24, 1998
ST. PETERSBURG -- A passing semitrailer truck and a top-heavy load nearly pulled a Parrish man and his son over the edge of the Sunshine Skyway early Saturday evening.
Instead, the 10,000-pound tractor they were carrying toppled into Tampa Bay from near the 170-foot-high center of the bridge. Their truck and the trailer they were pulling came to rest facing oncoming traffic on the downhill slope. Father and son were shaken but unhurt.
"I didn't save us," Randy Sharp told his 9-year-old son, Matthew, as they recounted the accident at a nearby rest stop. "The Lord saved us."
With tears in their eyes, the two stood a moment and prayed by the mangled rear bumper of their pickup truck.
The accident happened as the Sharps were heading south on the Skyway at about 8 p.m. Sharp had borrowed the Ford front-end loader from a friend, Bill Heaberlin of Clearwater, in order to do some land clearing and grading at his property in Manatee County. The tractor was chained to a flat-bed trailer behind Sharp's medium-duty truck.
Just as they were crossing the top of the bridge, a semitrailer sped past them, Randy Sharp said. The turbulent wind caused Sharp's rig to fishtail.
"We hit the right side of the bridge, and that caused us to swerve," said Matthew. After they bounced from one rail to the other and spun around, "We looked behind us, and the tractor was gone."
Randy Sharp said he didn't see the tractor fall or even which side of the bridge it flew off of. But the force of the accident was enough to break the heavy chains he had secured it with.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Paul Kopriva, who investigated the accident, said he's never seen an accident in which the wind from a passing semitrailer blew a vehicle off the Skyway.
But Sharp's load was unusually top-heavy, Kopriva said. Not unsafe or improperly loaded, he added, but it was unwieldy enough to make it harder for Sharp to maintain control in a sudden mishap.
Oddly, Kopriva had stopped Sharp just north of the main bridge and cited him for an improper tag and lighting on the trailer. But it was still daylight when the accident occurred.
The semitrailer that Sharp said caused the accident did not remain at the scene.
Kopriva said no charges will be filed. But he did have to tell Sharp that the Coast Guard will hold him responsible for retrieving the tractor and for cleaning up the oil and diesel fuel that were in it.
|03.25.98: skyway bomb threat|
sptimes.com, Skyway closed briefly
By KELLY RYAN, published March 26, 1998
ST. PETERSBURG -- Authorities briefly closed the Sunshine Skyway bridge Wednesday while they investigated a bomb threat, the third in two days.
It took 17 minutes for several agencies to clear the bridge, inspect its top and bottom and declare it safe.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Guzman warned that authorities are investigating all three fake bomb threats, which he said authorities must take seriously.
"We will take some action," Guzman said. "We can trace the calls to pay phones, cell phones. I don't want people to panic and be afraid of the Skyway."
About 2 p.m. Wednesday, an unidentified man walked into a driver's license office in Cocoa Beach and told an employee that a bomb had been placed on the bridge. The employee called Florida Highway Patrol, which closed the bridge about 2:15 p.m.
About 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, authorities received two phoned-in bomb threats. Hundreds of motorists were re-routed as dozens of law enforcement officers spent three hours searching the bridge.
Officials did not find anything suspicious Tuesday or Wednesday.
04.27.97: skyway swing stunt.
Steve Trotter, Jeff Sargent 26, Lori Martin 30, Glenn Rohm 29, Kenny Bunker
Trotter's attempted repeat of the stunt in 1997 at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
in Tampa, FL ended in disaster. Trotter and four other people jumped, attached
to the same cable. The plan had not been tested previously, and the cable
snapped during the effort, causing Trotter and the others to plunge at least
70 feet into the bay.
Five-Man Bungee Stunt: What Went Wrong?
In April, 1997, a Fort Lauderdale man named Steve Trotter and four of his friends tried to break a bungee jumping record by plunging off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, supported by only a single cable shared between them. To watching news media, all seemed to be going fine, until the cable snapped at the bottom of their first swing, dropping them into the water below. But what went wrong?
The cable Trotter and friends were using was rated to support 635 kg, and the five of them only weighed 410 kg, so in theory shouldn’t the cable have been sufficient? It would seem that way, but the mistake Trotter made was that the 635 kg rating is only for objects that aren’t moving. When the cable broke, the group of five was moving at almost 110 km/h. At this speed, the cable was supporting a force equivalent to 1200 kg, much more than the 635 kg max rating. With the recommended load exceeded, the cable snapped and the group fell into the water. If Trotter had bothered to take physics, he might have made a more informed choice for his rope, and this entire accident could have been avoided.
|12.11.07, punchpixie, Tampa, Fl., video of the jump is available on Spike TV's "Whacked Out Sports" compilation which shows several times a year. Just set your Tivo to capture it, and you'll find it. The Spike TV episode also includes the fact that the injuries were extremely serious: "The five plunged at least 70 feet into the bay, still tethered together by pieces of cable. This time, Trotter escaped with a bruised lung and a stiff neck. Sargent, too, came away banged up and bruised, but escaped major injury. Lori Martin wasn't so lucky. She broke a vertebra in her neck and was so medicated on Tuesday she stayed away from the cameras. Rohm also broke a vertebra, but was walking around on Tuesday, his head held still in a metal halo drilled into his skull." (anyone wishing to slip us a copy of this video will forever be way cool. apparently, this is also on 'When Good Times Go Bad 2', tv 1999)|
07.21.11, waltonsun.com, OVER THE EDGE: Freeport thrillseeker plans to barrel over Niagara Falls one last time, July 21, 2011 12:39 PM, Megan R. Moseley
Steve Trotter is an intelligent, well-spoken and charismatic individual who happens to have barreled over Niagara Falls, twice.
And, he’s about to do it again.
When he was 22 years old, the Freeport man was the youngest person ever to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Doing what most people define as crazy, Trotter lives life on the edge.
Now 50 and shucking and jiving at the Acme Oyster House at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Trotter spoke to the Sun about the first time he decided to do the unthinkable.
“I went to visit the Falls as a kid when I was 7 years old, and I just had a draw to it,” he said. “Then I saw Annie Taylor’s barrel and I thought, ‘I have to do that.’ ”
Taking the plunge
Annie Taylor was the first person to survive a trip in a barrel over Niagara Falls on her 63rd birthday in 1901.
Trotter’s glory day was Aug. 18, 1985, when he tucked himself into two Greek pickle barrels. The barrel was padded with ballistic Kevlar with hatches on both ends and encircled by inner tubes to dampen the blow. Trotter and his tricked-out barrel safely and successfully made it over the edge.
“It was wild,” he said. “The Falls is about 178 feet high. So you have that initial hit when you get over the Falls, then you have the water accompanying you at 1,200,000 gallons a second.”
But despite the dangers, the stunt was accomplished. Coming out with barely a scratch, Trotter was quickly thrown into jail as well as into the limelight.
After serving a mere 30 minutes in jail, he was released and bombarded by the media.
His most famous interview was on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, where he and the King of Late Night joked and discussed his latest adventure.
After the thrill of the stunt died down, Trotter went back to his home in Fort Lauderdale, where he worked as a bartender. Although he had accomplished his dream, he wasn’t done.
“I wanted to be on a 10-year-plan,” Trotter said during an interview at his home. “I knew I would do it again.”
Ten years later, on June 18, 1995, Trotter made his way back to Canada, this time in disguise — having been red flagged by officials from his last stunt— and bringing a friend with him.
“I went up two weeks before disguised in a Rollie Fingers mustache, sunglasses, and a hat. I tried to keep a low profile,” he said. “Then I went back and got the crew, and we stayed up there a week before getting everything together.”
Once everything was in position, Trotter and his friend Lori Martin took the plunge. The second stunt was less successful, and Trotter walked away with a compression fracture in his back, two weeks of jail time and a $14,700 fine.
With help from his fellow bartenders and friends in Fort Lauderdale, Trotter paid the fine and was released. Although he had to pay substantial costs for both trespassing and retrieving the barrel that was stuck in the Falls for more than a week, Martin and Trotter became the first male-woman duo to go over the Falls in history.
A history of stunts
It’s said that those who don’t learn from the past are bound to repeat it. But with Trotter, he had learned how to push the envelope, and he wasn’t willing to stop at the Falls.
One of his favorite memories was after performing a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On his 23rd birthday, he stood on the bridge overlooking Alcatraz prison when the Coast Guard showed up.
“They said, ‘Mr. Trotter stay where you are.’ I’m thinking ‘Crap. They know my name.’ I had nowhere to go.”
After the jump, he was thrown in jail and was suffering from a severe laceration on his thigh where the cord cut into him. Stuck in jail on his birthday, bleeding and unhappy, he thought, “Wow, what a birthday.”
All of a sudden, his luck changed. A deputy came to his cell and said that his bond had been made and to follow him. Confused as to who helped him, Trotter didn’t ask questions and followed orders.
He was met with a surprise to see two complete strangers waiting to take him out of jail and celebrate his birthday with him.
“They said they had heard about me before and were big fans,” he said. “It was a woman by the name of Esther Green and a guy named Lorri Wilkins who dragged me down to this old jazz bar in San Francisco. When I walked in there was a band there who said, ‘Hey it’s the guy who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.’ At which point they started to sing this song called, ‘The guy who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.’ It turned from the worst birthday ever to the best.”
Back to Niagara
Trotter is 20 years behind on his 10-year-plan to conquer the Falls. He hasn’t performed a stunt since 1997, which is not a coincidence. Aside from being on high alert in Canada, Trotter has other reasons for taking a break from thrill seeking.
“I would do other sorts of stunts, and one I did in 1997 went terribly wrong,” he said. “My buddies and I were going to do a pendulum swing off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa. So we had a 200-foot long cable that we attached and five small wooden disks attached to the end of the cable that would be the weight of the pendulum. So we jumped off and halfway through we hear, ‘snap!’ and the cable broke. We went flying 70 feet into the bay, and hit it like a ton of bricks.”
That incident left two of his friends in critical condition and Trotter with major injuries. Out of respect for his friends, Trotter swore off his daredevil ways for a while.
“When you see two of your friends almost die from a stunt you put on, it shakes you up,” he said.
But his mourning period is over, and Trotter is in the planning stage of performing his third and final drop from the Falls. Without giving too many details about when and where it will happen out of fear that the Canadian government will interfere with his plans, Trotter did say that he’s already making his “Trottersphere” safe and solid.
With help from an engineer, Trotter is taking all precautions to make sure he can perform the stunt safely.
“I may try some crazy stuff, but I’m huge on safety,” he said. “I’m not stupid about it.”
This includes insulating the Trottersphere with nuclear warhead packing materials, and having the barrel designed and inspected by a team that consists of Navy SEALS and top-notch engineers.
“I just have this draw to the Falls, and it’s calling me back,” he said.
|10.25.87: thrill seekers|
|08.08.84: skyway bomb threat article. full article.|
|08.03.84: gunman on skyway|
|08.02.84: skyway bomb threat|
08.05.84, full article.
|05.09.84: skyway bomb threat|
|10.28.82: skyway bomb threat|
| 12.08.81: male suicide shooter dies
William Roth Johnson, 32
|08.09.81: full article.|
|05.21.80: skyway bomb threat|
| 04.13.78: nearby jumping incident
Eustice Ross, male, 21
|05.12.77: non-jumping skyway suicide|
05.01.74: whiskey + marijuana + gun = fun
Charles William Jones
10.12.73: man found stabbed to death on skyway.
Peter Dent, 24
| 01.23.69: accidental faller, male, lived
Julius Curry, 21
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