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skyway bridge incidents

incidents occur on and around the skyway bridge, 2016 and on.
updated: 12.27.21

what happened here?
links could be broken at any time. (our comments follow)
12.27.21: vehicle fire.
12.27.21,, Vehicle fire closes lanes of Sunshine Skyway Bridge. All southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge were temporarily closed on Monday evening due to a vehicle on fire. Florida Department of Transportation reported the incident at 5:30 p.m. The vehicle was located near mile marker 12 on Interstate 275 South, near the base of the bridge. Emergency responders were at the scene a short time later bringing the blaze under control. As of 5:50 p.m., the left lane of the bridge had reopened to traffic. Firefighters were still at the scene, and traffic remained congested in the area.
11.12.21: vehicle fire on bridge.
11.12.21, IONTBfb, Skyway Bridge: Vehicle fire southbound on the bridge. Expect delays.

any more info is welcome.
11.11.21: vehicle fire on bridge.
11.11.21,, Troopers onscene of burning Brinks truck closing northbound lanes on the Skyway Bridge, Firefighters responded to reports of a vehicle fire on the Skyway Bridge at approximately 5:53 p.m. on Thursday, November 11, 2021
The burning vehicle is a Brinks truck and halted all northbound lanes of travel on the bridge. Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) say the fire appears to be a result of a mechanical issue.
The truck is stopped along the northbound outside emergency lane near the top of the Skyway Bridge. No injuries are reported.
Drivers are urged to use caution due to smoke and emergency personal on scene.

11.11.21, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue,, This evening at approximately 6:00 PM, multiple crews responded to a vehicle fire on the Skyway Bridge. Crews arrived to find fire from engine and passenger compartment of an armored truck. The crews worked together to get access to and extinguish the fire using saws and hand tools. The driver and passenger were able to escape the vehicle without injuries. The cause is determined as mechanical from the engine and fire was confined to the front of the truck. Great job to E11, T11, and neighboring department.

any more info is welcome.
08.27.21: police arrest driver after high-speed pursuit across Skyway.
11.20.20: suicide on the fishing pier
thank you, pier suicide reporters:
11.20.20, Jess, Bradenton, Mcso talking about east side jumper.

11.24.20, Michael W., facebook plugin, S2011200168 11/20/2020 03:56 BOLO ONLY EVENT 7900 BLOCK I275 SB SKYWAY SOUTH FISHING PIER
Someone committed Suicide in one of the bathrooms on the South Pier.

12.01.20, anon, Update on the case on 11/20/2020 it was a male on the skyway. south fishing pier shot himself in head early morning I work the bait shop and unfortunately seen the graphics on my way home that morning he wasn't in the bathroom

any more info is welcome.
10.11.20: 2 arrested for racing more than 100 mph on Skyway, FHP says.
10.12.20,, PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – A man and a woman were arrested Sunday for racing on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers say they arrested 28-year-old Danielle Hebner and 32-year-old Francisco Pavez for reckless driving around 5:45 p.m. in St. Petersburg.
According to an FHP spokesperson, a trooper spotted the two drivers weaving in and out of traffic, racing and trying to pass each other while driving northbound on the Skyway Bridge around 5:30 p.m.
A trooper activated their dash camera to capture the action, as seen in the video above.
News Channel 8 went to speak with both drivers Monday and they both said they were not racing and didn’t even know each other.
A report from the FHP says Hebner was driving a dark-colored hatchback Subaru Impreza WRX STI and clocked in at 117 mph. Pavez was driving a red coupe Eagle Talon and clocked in at 108 mph, the report says. The speed limit in the area was 65 mph.
Hebner and Pavez were booked into the Pinellas County Jail around 7:00 pm and each bonded out hours later, so we went to talk to them.
“That’s crazy, that’s really fast…it’s shocking, very shocking,” said Dana Palma who lives in Pavez’s New Port Richey neighborhood.
Palma said he’s a quiet neighbor who looks out for her 3 boys all under the age of 11-years-old whenever they’re by the street.
Palma said she never would have guessed him to be driving that fast.
“We’ve never seen him go fast through here, he’s actually yelled at people who have gone fast through here [because he knows my kids live nearby],” Palma said.
News Channel 8 also spoke with Hebner who FHP said was driving 117 mph. She also didn’t want to go on camera but also said she didn’t know Pavez and also said they weren’t racing.
Hebner said she was driving home after attending the FL2K in Bradenton, a drag racing car show.
“That’s kinda crazy…that’s dangerous, irresponsible,” said Aldo Traga, a neighbor to Hebner in Bellaire Bluffs. “She [must have] thought she was [in the movie] ‘Too Fast, Too Furious’ or something,” said Traga.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, both are facing two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing on a highway.
Officials said both the driver’s vehicles were escorted to the FHP station in Pinellas County and will be seized for 30 days.
Hebner and Pavez were both released from the Pinellas County Jail around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, each on at $400 cash bond. They are both scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 23 at 9 a.m.

03.01.20: man dies during 3rd annual skyway 10k
06.09.19: man uses crisis phone to report he ran out of gas.
06.10.19, Sofia, Sarasota, FL, regarding: Potential Jumper, I was driving on the Skyway Bridge the other day (6/9/19), roughly around 6:45PM. I noticed a male walking on the right side of the bridge. I called 911 but somebody had already beat me to it. First responders were responding to the call. I just want to know if this person lived. Thank you.

05.12.19: dog loose on the bridge, gets rescued safely.
05.12.19, Lalania H., There is a small dog on the railing of the very top of skyway. People are trying to save with police assistance. All northbound traffic stopped. We were on southbound lane. Would love to know if they were able to save the dog.

05.12.19, Em S., Dog walking along the edge of the skyway bridge. Hope he’s safe now!! Any updates? (how does a little dog get on top of the wall?)
05.12.19, IONTBfb/, Skyway Bridge: Expect delays due to a dog roaming on the bridge. Many motorists stopping on bridge to assist. later: Dog safely recovered off ledge of Skyway Bridge by passing motorist.

05.12.19,, Wrong-way dog on Sunshine Skyway Bridge causes some commotion
Troopers said the dog was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes about halfway up the incline of the bridge.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hold on, little doggie!
Florida Highway Patrol says a dog, which appeared to be a dachshund, caused some commotion on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Sunday afternoon.
Troopers said the dog was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes about halfway up the incline of the bridge.
The dog jumped onto the outside of the bridge when a driver stopped and got the dog to safety, FHP said.

05.13.19,, Driver rescues dog on ledge of Sunshine Skyway Bridge
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - State troopers said a dog, possibly a dachshund, was safely rescued by a driver who spotted the animal walking on the ledge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
State troopers said the dog was walking southbound in the northbound lanes approximately halfway up the incline of the bridge on Sunday evening around 5:15 p.m.
"As soon as I took the video, that's what I was thinking about the rest of the day. Is he okay? Did he fall down? Did they save him?" said Emily Serra.
Emily Serra, who lives in Sarasota took, video of the dog walking on the ledge of the bridge. She was in the backseat of a car with her family as they traveled from St. Petersburg to Sarasota. She said traffic was backed up for nearly 30 minutes on Sunday.
"My immediate reaction, I wanted to jump out of the car and go help, but I know that there were already a bunch of people over there helping him. I knew adding more people to the situation would kind of freak him out," Serra said.
State troopers said a driver retrieved the dog and the dog is safe.
"I’m glad you can have faith in people doing something good like that and not just letting the dog roam on his own because he was helpless at the time. I'm really thankful for that," she said.
Troopers do not know how the dog ended up alone on the bridge.
"Whoever saved this little guy definitely deserves recognition. It was maybe a 4 inch railing up there and he was walking across. I am glad he did not fall down. We were pretty worried about him," Serra said.
facebook article posts such as:
05.12.19, Tina E., We were heading SB on the bridge and saw the person grab the dog.
01.20.19: hit and run driver strikes skyway bridge toll worker
01.21.19,, troopers locate hit and run driver that struck a skyway bridge toll worker.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has located the driver that struck at toll worker with her truck at the Skyway Bridge toll plaza on the Pinellas side.
On Monday morning, Troopers announced that they made contact with the driver of the truck, 26 year-old Brittnie Ann Kenyon on Cape Coral, Florida.
The incident occurred at approximately 1:05 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at the toll plaza of the Skyway Bridge in Pinellas County.
Troopers say that a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup was traveling southbound on I-275 and entered the toll plaza. The toll workers instructed Kenyon to stop to allow another another toll worker to enter the pedestrian crosswalk. She failed to yield and remain stopped and collided with 80 year-old Elaine Wyman who was knocked down to the ground.
Kenyon initially stopped but then fled the scene traveling southbound on I-275.
The F-150 displayed a Florida licence tag of JYRI66.
Wyman was treated for minor injuries at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Kenyon was cited for driving with a suspended license and failing to provide information at the crash scene.
03.02.19: bomb sweep
03.02.19, Hillsborough Sheriff, BOMB SWEEP, SKYWAY BG, 0818, 1754, 9h36m
10.11.18: father commits suicide at a skyway rest stop.
06.20.19,, A daughter left behind: Clearwater woman finds way to cope after father’s suicide
CLEARWATER — When police pulled up to Vania Shapiro’s family home to inform her and her family of their father’s suicide, her worst fears came true.
Since that hellish day last October, Shapiro, 25, has wrestled with one overriding emotion: anger.
“I had a lot of anger at everybody, anger that the police wouldn’t track his phone, anger that he had left two little boys. I was just angry at everybody,” the marketing and graphic design professional told the Beacon in May.
“I’m not an angry person, so I didn’t know how to handle that anger — and that’s why I had to seek help,” Shapiro said.
By recounting her life as a suicide survivor — which began Oct. 11, 2018, the day her father’s body was found in his car below the Sunshine Skyway Bridge — Shapiro hopes to provide a path to recovery for others who have lost someone to suicide.
“Suicide is more common than I thought, because no one talks about it,” the young woman said. “I want to be the person who speaks out as much as I can.”
Florida Department of Health statistics show that 179 people committed suicide in Pinellas County in 2017, the latest data available, placing the county 25th out of 67 Florida counties. Each individual left behind shattered family and friends who must wrestle with a bottomless well of emotions, often for the rest of their lives.

The day begins

“It was a regular Thursday morning,” Shapiro began. “I got up and saw an email from my dad. When I opened his email, I thought it was a joke at first. I didn’t register it as a suicide note. It was very vague — ‘I love you and please forgive me,’ which didn’t make sense to me. Forgive me for what? He never showed any signs of depression, but he did have anxiety. I didn’t realize until now that anxiety and depression have a direct correlation.”
Shapiro’s alarm grew as she re-read the email. Her father — Dr. Stuart Shapiro, 47, a Bradenton orthopedic surgeon — lived with Vania’s mother and her two younger brothers about a mile away from Vania’s apartment in St. Petersburg.
“I drove to my mom’s and things spiraled out of control from there,” she remembered. “We had cops over all day, trying to find my dad. We tried calling him throughout the day, but he had his cell phone turned off.”
Cellphones in the off position or those with no batteries do not register with the cellular carrier's network and cannot be tracked. Police must also wrestle with individual privacy rights.
“The police said because my dad hadn’t directly said in his suicide note that he was going to commit suicide, they couldn’t legally track his phone,” Shapiro said.
Her frustration and fear grew hourly as her father remained out of contact. Then, around 6 p.m., police found him. He had driven to the rest stop below the Skyway Bridge, where he shot himself in the head.

The day ends

Police, accompanied by a social worker, broke the news to the family at her mother’s house. Neither Shapiro nor her mother were surprised that he’d used a gun to end his life.
“He was an avid gun person,” she said. “He loved going to the gun range and always had a gun on him. We worried that was how he was going to go. He had one in his car.”
Vania, her mother, and her two younger brothers have since struggled with the question many suicide survivors ask: Why?
Though he received high grades for skill and trustworthiness from his patients, Dr. Shapiro faced professional struggles “that were out of his control, and he didn’t know what to do. A lot of it was causing anxiety,” she said. “He didn’t know what to do. He thought he was not a good father or a good provider, and he didn’t know a better way out.”

How to Grieve 101

“When I tell people that my father died of suicide, they don’t want to talk about it,” Shapiro said. “They either don’t want to upset me or they believe suicide is a sin. If someone says, ‘My father died of a car crash,’ people say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and they are supportive. When they hear ‘suicide,’ they draw away from the subject, because they don’t want to hurt me.”
Yet strangers offer her advice all the time.
“I have had multiple people tell me how to grieve, that I should stop feeling angry,” she said. “Someone once said in front of me, ‘I just want to blow my head off.’ I told her not to use that phrase and she said, ‘That should not trigger you, get over it.’”
Complicating her feelings: Dr. Shapiro adopted Vania in 2005 when she was 11, providing her with a steady father figure in a time of upheaval. The two had celebrated her adoption day a month before his suicide.
“I felt abandoned,” Shapiro said. “It was the second time a father had left me. I thought I finally had some normalcy in my life.”
Years earlier, when she was depressed about something, her adopted father had told her that “suicide was not the answer because of how selfish it is,” she said.

Help for suicide survivors

Karla Swenson, an Empath Health community counselor for Clearwater and Palm Harbor, helps suicide survivors like Vania rebuild their lives. Empath has an Adult Suicide Survivor Bereavement Group in addition to individual counseling.
“Feelings after a suicide loss are different because (in addition to grieving) loved ones try to understand why someone would end their life,” Swenson said. “Survivors feel isolated because most people don’t know what to say to them.”
Shapiro sought help with Swenson, but other groups in Clearwater and Pinellas County can help suicide survivors: The National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Pinellas County Health Department, the Mental Health Resource Center Clearwater FACT Team, Tampa Bay Cares and other organizations all can direct suicide survivors to those who can help.
Vania’s mother, a nurse, worked quickly to get help for the family.
“My mother was adamant about getting me and my brothers into therapy,” Shapiro said. “We started by attending an International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day program she found. At that group, survivors of suicide told their stories and talked about how after a vase breaks it can be put back together again, but the cracks will always be there. We all decorated our own vases and then broke into groups to talk.”

The rest of her life

By bringing together suicide survivors, the bereavement groups reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness in sufferers.
“Grief can be overwhelming and exhausting, and it is helpful to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences with someone who is trained in working with suicide loss survivors,” Swenson said.
The Empath group is led by a trained facilitator who teaches the group coping skills, such as not blaming themselves; recognizing and relieving stress and anxiety from the loss; and celebrating the life of the person who died.
“Although everyone will experience a loss during a lifetime, we aren’t taught about grief and what to expect, so grief education is helpful and can ease thoughts of, ‘Am I doing this right?’ or, ‘I feel like I’m going crazy,’” Swenson said.
In addition to weekly, individual counseling with Swenson at Empath Health, Shapiro also attended Healing After a Loved One’s Suicide, a group formed in Davenport in 2007.
“I really don’t remember my first meeting except that I was sobbing the whole time,” Shapiro remembered.
“I liked the fact that I could speak with people who were sharing the same experiences,” she said. “I needed somebody to relate to.”
At the end of each meeting, the group would stand, raise their arms above their heads and pretend they were throwing a heavy object: “That’s how we would release any anger or frustration or sadness,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro felt a little better after her first meeting, but knows she’ll need tools the rest of her life.
“The grief process is always there, it never fully goes away,” she said. “I still have a little anger, but it’s definitely getting better over time.”
Her advice for others: “I hope people realize that it’s OK to talk about suicide. It loses its power when people are willing to talk about it.” (suicide help services.)
12.09.17: skyway fishing pier tumble
12.09.17, IONTBfb, Reports that a fisherman fell off the north fishing pier into the water. Multiple land and marine units responding. later: Man has been rescued and is being brought back to shore for a medical evaluation.
10.31.16: Crews say man safely exited water off Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
10.31.16,, Crews are searching the water off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for a 60-year-old man.
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and Eckerd College Search & Rescue on scene.
It’s unclear how the man ended up in the water. This is near the South Sunshine Skyway fishing pier.
The Florida Highway Patrol says there are no lane closures at this time related to the search.
UPDATE: Manatee County Fire Rescue told News Channel 8 the man was able to get out of the water before first responders arrived.
09.27.16: Manatee Co. sheriffs chase vehicle over Skyway Bridge.
08.07.15,, MANATEE CO., Fla. (WWSB) – Deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office were led on a vehicle pursuit over the Skyway Bridge early Tuesday morning.
According to the sheriff’s report, at around 12:30 a.m. deputies located a stolen black Nissan Maxima on 500 Manatee Avenue West. The vehicle was occupied by two suspects at the time.
Deputies confirmed the vehicle had been stolen out of Pasco County and called in for backup. However, before the unit could arrive, the suspects fled the scene.
Deputies followed the vehicle south down 9th Avenue West, then east to 1st street. The pursuit continued north on 1st Street into Palmetto, then onto U.S. 19 North. The suspects then turned onto 1-275 north toward St. Petersburg.
The chase continued over the Skyway Bridge to exit 16 where the suspects attempted to negotiate a sharp right turn, but failed.
As a result, the suspects drove into a shallow retention pond causing the vehicle to flip forward on its roof.
Deputies were able to contain both occupants and driver Maki L. McDonald, 22, was arrested.
The passenger of the Nissan Maxima was released without being charged.
06.22.16: body of missing tampa teen found in water near skyway bridge.
Brandon Sun, 16
06.22.16,, Body of missing Tampa teen found in water near Sunshine Skyway Bridge, ST. PETERSBURG — A fisherman on Wednesday afternoon found the body of a 16-year-old boy who had been missing since Tuesday morning in the waters near the Skyway Pier, according to police.
Brandon Sun, of Tampa, had been reported missing the day before.
His friends told police they had been drinking and using LSD on a strip of land under the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge late Monday. Sun, they said, wandered off about 3 a.m. Tuesday. They went to sleep there and woke up the next day, but Sun still had not returned, according to police. Friends searched for him, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez, but they did not find any sign of Sun.
His backpack and cellphone remained near where they had slept.
Fernandez said Sun was one of about five people there Monday night, and his friends did not tell his family he was missing until Tuesday afternoon. Sun's mother reported him missing about 6 p.m. that day.
Search crews from several agencies spent Wednesday morning searching land and water near the Skyway.
All day, Sun's friends had tweeted and retweeted posts with his picture, urging people to look for him, to spread word of his disappearance. Wednesday afternoon, when police announced they had recovered Sun's body, messages of hope turned to grief.
Friends wrote that he didn't deserve it, that they couldn't breathe or stop crying.
"I can't believe I lost a brother today."
"I'll never forget you bro."
"I hope you're living the life up there, adventuring and loving life like you always did."
"You just always gave off genuine happiness like no one else I've ever met in my life. Truly an original and blessed soul."

06.22.16,, Boy, 16, found dead in water near Skyway fishing pier.

06.22.16,, Body of missing teen found in near Skyway.

06.22.16,, Missing teen's body found near Skyway.

any more info is welcome.
06.20.16: auto issue
thank you, auto issue news reporter:
06.20.16, Sandra B.,

any more info is welcome.

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