On Sunday, December 12, 2011, a multi-vehicle Tampa car crash left one dead and two seriously injured. The accident occurred approximately 8:30 p.m. at Hillsborough Avenue and 56th Street. Involved in the crash were Henry Michael Tippins, 28, of Riverview, Linda Diane Fessell, 64, of Plant City, Consuelo M. Cassagne, 55, of Tampa, and Felicia Mechele Rhodes, 35, of Tampa.
Mr. Tippins was driving a white 2003 Hummer at the time of the accident, headed west on Hillsborough Avenue. He ran a red light at 56th Street, where he collided with the other individuals involved in the crash. Ms. Fessell was driving a 2000 Honda CRV, and tragically, she was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Cassagne was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry, and was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with serious injuries. Ms. Rhodes was traveling in a 2000 Mitsubishi Galant and was transported to Tampa General Hospital, also with serious injuries.
Shockingly, immediately following the accident, Mr. Tippins did not stop. Instead, he drove to the nearby Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where he was later arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol in the parking lot. Two men who had witnessed the accident were smart enough to follow Mr. Tippins to the casino and call police. The Highway Patrol reports that Mr. Tippins was drunk at the time of the accident. He was later charged with leaving the scene of a crash with death and injuries, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and DUI manslaughter.
The deceased, Ms. Fessel, was a retired employee of Tampa’s human resources department and a member of the Pink Dragon Ladies, a cancer-survivor, dragon boat team.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Ms. Fessel.