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PSTA lawsuit has nothing to do with PSTA

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is being sued over a traffic incident it had nothing to do with. Instead, an insurance company claims PSTA has video of the accident that may be helpful in defending against potential litigation against its client.

At issue is an accident that occurred Jan. 8. Clearwater resident Tim Beacham struck a homeless man with his 2002 Mercury Mountaineer after the man, 33-year old Perry David Green, is said to have run into traffic in the westbound lanes on Ulmerton road near 40th Street North.

Green was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition. As of Jan. 19 Green had not improved.

The driver’s insurer, Hartford Underwriters Insurance Co., is investigating the accident in order to defend Beacham if someone were to sue over the accident. The lawsuit, filed in Pinellas County Court, seeks a subpoena forcing PSTA to hand over the video footage it possesses.

According to Ashlie Handy, a spokeswoman for the agency, it is PSTA’s policy not to release video unless there is a subpoena to do so. Once a subpoena is obtained, Handy said the agency would have no problem releasing the video.

According to court records, Beacham did not receive a ticket for the accident. The incident report filed also indicates Beacham was traveling under the posted 45-miles-per-hour speed limit. He was traveling just 25.

Green’s last known address is Pinellas Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter operated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in a repurposed part of the Pinellas County jail. While it’s unclear whether the man was traveling to or from Safe Harbor, the shelter is about 1.5 miles from the scene of the accident.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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