CHARGES FILED IN JOGGER'S DEATH - Mitch Perry03/10/04
Tampa Police announced yesterday that the motorcyclist who struck and killed a jogger along Bayshore Boulevard last month has been charged with vehicular homicide.
Tampa Police arrested 35 year old William Napier at McDill Air Force Base yesterday, where he works as a naval petty officer First Class at U.S. Central Command.
If convicted, Napier could spend up to 15 years in prison.
According to reports, Napier was going at least 80 miles per hour in his Suzuki 1000 motorcycle when he struck 39 year old Melissa McKenzie last month, as she attempted to cross the Bayshore....She died almost immediately upon impact.
Because of that accident - the 3rd such fatality along the Bayshore in the past year, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio convened a Task Force to look at ways of making the roadway, which over 40,000 cars use daily, safer - for joggers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.
The Bayshore Traffic Task Force held their 3rd meeting this morning in Tampa,
Members of the group expressed ambivalent feelings upon learning of Napier's arrest.....
Gene Welles is the President of the Ballast Point Neighborhood Association
(roll tape#1 o.q."drive safe or not")
Vicki Pollyea is the President of the Bayshore Gardens Neighborhood Association.
(roll tape#1 o.q."people are still speeding")
The charge against William Napier is the most serious of the 3 fatal accidents along the Bayshore in the past year....Last June a driver - Joseph Kinz Jr., overran the exit ramp onto Davis Islands and smashed into 4o year old bicyclist Ian Bellis -who was stationed on the sidewalk .....Kinz was only charged with careless driving, and served no prison time......Recently 17 year old Charles Yerrid was issued a citation for unlawful speeding in the death of Nancy White.
Jeanie Holton Carufel is President of the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and a programmer on WMNF....(roll tape#2 o.q."or be late to work")
At the first meeting of the Bayshore Task Force, Tampa City Councilman John Dingfelder said one immediate step that could slow down traffic along Bayshore is to install Red Lights where there are already Lights set up - on Howard and Bay to Bay Avenues. Dingfelder says that could still happen (roll tape#3 o.q."on to the Mayor real quick")
Today the TaskForce was scheduled to hear a presentation on Traffic Calming alternatives, .......Ballast Point Neighborhood President Gene Welles said at the First Bayshore Traffic Task Force Meeting, that if people simple adhered to the speed limit, which is 40 miles per hour on the straightaway portion of the road, and 30 along the curves, there would NOT be any need for such community deliberations(roll tape#4 o.q."for these things")
(roll tape#5 o.q."next to a linear park")
OUTRO: The Task Force says they will soon announce their next meeting which will include a Public Hearing, in which all members of the community can have their say on how to improve safety along the Bayshore