About two weeks after Retired Admiral Collins was hit while cycling in a crosswalk before dawn, the Tampa police stage a raid on downtown Tampa. The motorist, a 2nd year OB/GYN resident on her way to work at a hospital wasn’t cited. No details yet as to whether Collins had lights.
Ironically, a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk and had his leg broken during the “operation.”
TAMPA – Police officers blanketed downtown Tampa on Monday morning, handing out citations to motorists and pedestrians who ran afoul of traffic laws at intersections. The operation was part of a new focus on pedestrian safety, police said.
But it rang hollow for Ed Collins, whose father, Leroy Collins Jr., was killed while biking on Hyde Park Avenue last month and no charges were filed against the driver.
“It was just weird,” he said. “Here’s TPD grandstanding about the great pedestrian safety they have and my father was killed and they did not even issue a ticket.”
Leroy Collins Jr., retired admiral, head of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, and son of a popular former governor, was killed just before dawn on July 29. The driver of the sport-utility vehicle that struck the 75-year-old biker was not cited.
“If you’re a pedestrian,” Ed Collins said, “it’s like you’re wild game to be hunted. And, it seems like TPD is complacent.”
Investigators have called the fatality an accident and said they would not cite the driver.
The operation Monday morning was to spotlight an influx of federal dollars to bolster pedestrian safety. During the operation, a motorist struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk, sending the injured man to Tampa General Hospital with a broken leg, police said.
Federal money flowed into the Tampa Bay area recently — $430,000, in fact — and is being doled out by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Tampa police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will get $100,000 each to pay for overtime, she said.
Most of the money will be meted out to law enforcement agencies in nine Tampa Bay area jurisdictions to pay overtime for officers enforcing pedestrian laws at targeted intersections, said Kris Carson, a spokeswoman with the state DOT.
“This is the largest safety campaign we’ve ever undertaken,” Carson said on Monday.
During that operation, David James, 50, a lawyer from Brandon, was in a crosswalk when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Jenny Barquero, 57, of Tampa, who was en route to answer a summons for jury duty, police said.
Barquero was handed a $101 citation for failing to yield, police said.
Monday morning, officers handed out 50 warnings to pedestrians who were not crossing in crosswalks or were crossing against the traffic lights, and 20 citations were issued to motorists, mostly for failure to yield, police said.