Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
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    Release Number: 17-293

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • July 17, 2017
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piocommandcenter@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813-247-8060

    Traffic Fatality

    Motorcyclist suffers fatal injuries.
    • Sunday
    • July 16, 2017
    • Time: 1:33 PM
    • Lithia Pinecrest Road

    Vehicle: 2001 Suzuki

    Driver: Melvin Cline Ford Jr. (deceased)
    DOB: 05/30/1998
    5736 Connell Rd.
    Plant City, FL


    Vehicle: 1998 Mazda Protege

    Driver: Leroy Newton Purk (non-life threatening injuries)
    DOB: 09/06/1943
    9330 County Line Road
    Lithia, FL



    On July 16, 2017 at 1:33 p.m., Melvin Cline Ford Jr. was operating his father's 2001 blue and white Suzuki motorcycle westbound on Lithia Pinecrest Road approaching Allen Road. Mr. Ford was operating the motorcycle at a high rate of speed as witnesses stated he passed them at speeds of 80 miles per hour to 100 miles per hour approximately a tenth of a mile from the crash scene. Leroy Newton Purk was operating his 1998 black Mazda Protege eastbound on Lithia Pinecrest Road. Mr. Purk did not see the motorcycle and began to initiate a left turn in front of the motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the passenger side of the Mazda causing the Mazda to rotate and overturn onto its passenger side. Mr. Ford was displaced from the motorcycle. Mr. Ford was wearing a helmet and was transported to Lakeland Regional Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Mr. Purk was transported to Tampa General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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