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FHP searching for driver who sped off from fatal Seminole crash

Posted at 5:22 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 18:30:17-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- FHP troopers are searching for a driver that sped off from a car crash in Seminole. The crash killed a 20-year-old woman. Her grandmother is now fighting for her life in the hospital. 

It happened Monday night around 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of 102nd Avenue near 97th Street North, just a few blocks from Osceola High School.

Troopers say 74-year-old AnnMarie DeSocio and her granddaughter, 20-year-old Hailey Marie Mullen, who was in the passenger's seat, may not have seen the danger headed straight towards them. 

The women were making a left on a green light into the Lake Seminole Village neighborhood. Just as they started to turn, FHP says two pickup trucks - likely going more than twice the speed limit - came barreling towards them. 

One pickup truck smashed into the women. The other kept going.

Michael Tambussi, whose home backs up to the intersection, is fuming.  Monday’s deadly crash is the latest example of a crime he sees daily. 

“You’re hearing motorcycles, you’re hearing cars. You hear the revving of the engines. They speed along 102nd Avenue every night!” Tambussi exclaimed.

His wife was among the first to rush out to the crash site in the moments after the impact. 

FHP troopers say the two pickup trucks were speeding side by side on a street that has a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. The pickup truck drivers may have been going so fast that DeSocio and Mullen couldn’t have judged how much time they had to turn. 

Chris Baker, who also lives near the intersection, says it's scary. “That easily could have been me, my wife or my son or my parents who live in the neighborhood also.”

Family members of Mullen and DeSocio tell us Mullen was in college studying to be a teacher for the visually impaired. Her grandmother hasn’t regained consciousness and doctors raced her into surgery Wednesday afternoon. DeSocio had picked up Mullen from class just before the crash. 

“It’s frustrating because these were good people just trying to live their normal lives,” Tambussi added.

Neighbors are begging Pinellas County Sheriff deputies to step up patrols. They also want the county to look into adding a fixed green arrow to help drivers get into the nearby neighborhood safely. 

Most importantly, they want the driver who fled the crash, to turn themselves in.

“Please for once think about somebody else and think about this poor family that is going through the holidays with their worst nightmares,” Tambussi said with emotion.

FHP troopers say the person who drove off was in a green Chevy Silverado pickup truck with dark tinted windows.

The man in the truck that hit DeSocio's sedan, 53-year-old Luciano Gomes, is still in the hospital. FHP says he will face charges. 

Less than two weeks ago, FHP says a motorcyclist was speeding West on the same street when he hit a bicyclist.

A memorial also sits at the intersection in honor of a 2015 crash that killed U.S. Marine Matthew Derremer who was killed when a drunk driver crashed into his motorcycle.