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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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Man faces DUI charges after crash that killed St. Pete couple

They had just enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with friends and were on their way home to St. Petersburg.

They almost made it.

Douglas Simpson, 64, and his wife,  Christina Simpson, 53, were killed late Thursday afternoon when what police said was a drunk driver slammed into their Toyota Corolla with his Porsche.

Anthony Apollo Neeley, 31, of Seminole was driving more than 100 mph and had just caused an earlier crash when he hit the Simpsons' car at Central Avenue and 34th Street, police said. He was arrested and charged with two counts of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

The Simpsons were only minutes away from home when the 5:30 p.m. crash occurred, said Douglas Simpson's sister, Sally Mannas. She said Neeley never should have been driving.

“He didn't have a license,'' Mannas said. “He's a low-life. It's a senseless death. Thank God nobody else was killed.”

Police said Neeley displayed signs of impairment and his blood-alcohol level was determined to be nearly twice the Florida legal limit of 0.08. 

Neeley, of 7485 143rd Lane, was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where he was treated for minor injuries, then booked into the Pinellas County Jail, where he was being held without bail. He also faces charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving attended property, violation of business-purpose-only driver's license, operating an unregistered vehicle and operating a vehicle with no valid insurance.

According to state records, Neeley served about eight months in state prison in 2008-09 on forgery, grand theft and cocaine trafficking charges. Jail records indicate he has been arrested several times in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties on charges including driving with a suspended license and driving without vehicle registration.

Christina and Douglas Simpson met on the runners circuit while in Pittsburgh, the city where they both grew up. They were both avid runners who participated in marathons, family members said.

They married in Pittsburgh in July 1997, honeymooned in St. Petersburg and fell in love with the area. They moved to St. Petersburg in 2002.

“Doug always liked being on or near the water,” said Emmanuel Skarvelis, Christina Simpson's brother.

Douglas was an accountant at the TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach, Mannas said.

“They loved the area,” she said. “They loved it a lot.”

Christina, who went by Chris, worked as a secretary at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

“She enjoyed people,” Skarvelis said. “She was very friendly.”

While Douglas wasn't running marathons anymore, Christina continued running marathons locally, Mannas said. Along with running, Douglas enjoyed golf, Skarvelis said.

 

Tribune reporter Kristen Mitchell contributed to this report.

jpatino@tampatrib.com

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