Gulfport police investigated a man run over by.a car earlier this month.
Gulfport Police Department
Gulfportian and former candidate for Gulfport City Council Bruce Plesser died as a result of injuries he received when a driver ran him over with her 2012 Nissan Pathfinder and dragged him 10 feet. Police believe Plesser, 69, was lying or crouching in the street when the accident occurred.
Toxicology reports revealed Plesser’s blood alcohol content was 0.234% approximately four hours after the accident, almost triple the legal limit for intoxication (the State of Florida considers someone intoxicated when they have a 0.08% BAC).
The incident occurred near 54th Street and 26th Avenue South shortly before 10 p.m. on Aug. 2. Gulfport Police Department Sergeant Thomas Woodman said Plesser died at Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg on Aug. 7.
The driver, Christopher Elizabeth “Toffer” Ross, stopped her SUV and called 911. Police have not charged her in the incident, Woodman said. Police say Ross was likely not at fault and that Ross did not leave the scene of the accident.
“It definitely was not a hit and run,” Chief Rob Vincent said, adding that Ross passed a field sobriety test and gave police no reason to suspect she was under the influence. “Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s unlikely that she would be charged.”
Gulfport Police started the report, but Pinellas County’s Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) will finish the investigation. This is a service for which Gulfport contracts; in exchange for the services, Gulfport Police Department provides an officer to work on the MAIT team.
If, Vincent added, the investigation suggests Ross was at fault, at that time, police would charge her.
“As it stands right now, there’s not enough evidence to conclude that she committed any traffic violations,” Vincent said. “Typically a traffic death investigation can take 30-60 days [to complete].”
Ross, a horticulturalist with the City of Gulfport, has a tarnished driving record, but police say they’ve no basis to think Ross was at fault in the Aug. 2 accident.
“It would be difficult to see someone lying in the street in the dark,” Vincent told The Gabber
In 2018, Plesser qualified as a candidate to represent Gulfport’s Ward I on City Council. He ran against then-incumbent Dan Liedtke, but lost the race by 618 votes. (Liedtke, who later lost to current Ward I representative, April Thanos, received 1254 votes to Plesser’s 618.)
Why Plesser was prone in the street remains unclear.
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