A 60-year-old St. Petersburg commercial crabber was killed today when his 20-foot runabout struck the 4th Street Bridge in north St. Petersburg.
Phillip Johnson, 6618 14th Street North, was operating the vessel just after 10:30 a.m. when it hit the bridge support and then careened out of control into some nearby mangroves, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Cheryl Fitzrandolph said she saw the boat approaching at full throttle as she fished under the bridge.
“He never slowed down,” she said. “As the boat went under the bridge we heard a loud thump.”
Investigators are trying to determine whether there was a mechanical problem with the boat or whether Johnson may have suffered a medical condition. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday.
Gary Morse, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it’s the third time this year a boat has struck a bridge in the Bay area.
Originally Posted at: www2.tbo.com