Former track star sought in fatal road rage incident:[SOUTH PINELLAS Edition]
SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, SAUNDRA AMRHEIN. St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Fla.: Jun 5, 2004. pg. 1.B
Full Text (931 words)
Copyright Times Publishing Co. Jun 5, 2004
A former Pinellas high school track star who once dreamed of representing the United States at the Olympics is being sought in a deadly road rage incident in Tampa early Friday.
Police say 26-year-old Jarrish Kinte Outlaw of St. Petersburg rammed a motorcyclist with his Honda Civic, sending Ronald Eugene Bell crashing to his death on a sidewalk.
Outlaw fled the scene in Seminole Heights. Once one of the top- ranked high school hurdlers in the nation, he now is being sought for vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
Bell, 29, was on his way home to his wife and three children after attending a motorcycle event in Ybor City.
Police said it appeared Outlaw and Bell had a dispute just before 3:30 a.m.
Outlaw became upset with Bell's driving and argued with him at a red light, police said. Words were exchanged, and Bell sped away on his Yamaha, with Outlaw in pursuit.
Bell's relatives offered a different version of events, based on what they said they were told by Bell's cousin, who was a passenger on the motorcycle.
Christopher Bell, a younger brother of Ronald Bell, said Bell and the cousin were on the motorcycle at 22nd Street and Hillsborough Avenue when Outlaw drove up and challenged them to a race.
"My brother didn't want to race, but the car would not let him be," said Christopher Bell. "He wouldn't let my brother get by."
Tampa police spokesman Capt. Bob Guidara said Outlaw chased after Bell as he traveled west on Powhatan Avenue.
At some point, Bell's cousin got off the motorcycle. When Bell approached Nebraska Avenue, he slowed down and the Honda hit the back of his Yamaha, according to police.
The impact sent the motorcycle crashing through a wooden fence and into the pond of a two-story blue house at the southwest corner of Powhatan and Nebraska.
Bell landed on the sidewalk at the corner, his helmet still on, said Doug Wood, who lives in the house.
"I heard all this screaming, and then I saw the body on the sidewalk and ran over," Wood said. "He had a real light pulse when I first checked him, but he just never moved."
The Honda slammed into a utility pole. It came to rest just outside the fence bordering Wood's side yard.
Police and witnesses say Outlaw ran off, leaving behind his two passengers, 22-year-old Vicki Joe Stewart of Tampa and 18-year-old Delorean Feaster of St. Petersburg. One witness said Stewart lay in the middle of Nebraska Avenue after the crash, screaming and crying.
Outlaw, a 1996 graduate from Boca Ciega High School, ran the nation's second-fastest high school time for that year in the 110- meter hurdles at the 20th Golden South Classic. That same year, he also won the state Class 5A 100 dash and 110-meter hurdles titles.
When the Times last wrote about his track achievements in 1997, Outlaw had just spent a semester at Wallace State (Ala.) Community College before moving to Jacksonville. He'd been accepted at Meridian Community College in Mississippi, where he planned to compete in track. He then planned to transfer to Florida State University.
"My long-range goal is the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, in the year 2000," he said at the time.
A woman who answered the phone Friday at Outlaw's home, 2449 26th Ave. S, identified herself as his mother. She said she didn't know where her son was.
"I'm sitting here now about to have a heart attack," she said.
Outlaw's arrest record includes charges of assault or battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer without violence, for which he received two years' probation last September.
The crash closed Nebraska Avenue between Henry and Comanche avenues until about 9:30 a.m., as investigators combed the scene for witnesses and evidence.
Bell's body was removed from the sidewalk shortly after 8 a.m.
His wife, mother, brothers and aunts stood nearby, clutching tissues and clinging to each other as tears streamed down their cheeks.
A couple of hours earlier, Bell's children - Ronald E. Bell III, 11; Jahlil Bell, 6; and Nazani Bell, 7 months - had been told their father was dead.
The Bell family lived not far from the crash scene, at 3406 E Chelsea St.
"His kids are everything to him," said his wife, Tineka Sheppard- Bell, 31, who met her husband when they were high school students at Tampa Bay Tech.
Relatives said Bell was gifted with his hands and was building a business renovating homes.
On Sunday, Bell had taken the children to the state fairgrounds for motorcycle races. Sheppard-Bell said her husband had spent the last few days at their home in Belmont Heights Estates with the infant, Nazani, who was sick.
"When he left to go to Ybor, I told him to please bring home some water and wipes for the baby," she said. "That was the last thing I said."
"I just hope the proper justice is done. Because somebody killed my husband."
- Staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or [email protected]
Tineka Bell, wife of Ronald Bell, above, sits with her children, from left, Ronald Bell III, 11, Jahil Bell, 6, and Nazani Bell, 7 months. "I have to be strong for my kids," she said.