Port Manatee officials express condolences over death of Palmetto man

MANATEE -- Port Manatee officials have expressed their condolences to the family of a Palmetto man who died Saturday after driving a vehicle into Tampa Bay.

Lifelong Bradenton resident Adam Ryan Smith, 25, died while apparently having a medical emergency at the port at 1:23 p.m. Saturday while driving a 2011 Ford F-250 truck that went into the water, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Smith's passenger and father Bebo William Smith, 62, was able to escape unharmed.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Smith family at this poignant time," said Dave Sanford, deputy executive director of Port Manatee, in a written statement.

The statement went on to say that the vehicle Smith was driving went into the water off a Port Manatee cargo berth.

A woman who answered at the workplace of Smith's brother said the family did not want to speak.

As of Sunday, charges were pending in the case. Multiple calls to FHP spokesman Lieutenant Gregory Bueno Monday were not returned as of press time.

According to an FHP report, Adam Smith was traveling south in the parking lot of the Manatee County Port Authority on 300 Tampa Bay Way. When he fell ill, he went southwest in the parking lot toward the water, the report states.

FHP officials said Bebo Smith noticed his son was having a medical issue and tried to apply the brakes from the passenger seat but was unsuccessful.

After news broke of Smith's death, support and condolences poured in on Facebook. He was described as an amazing person -- a kind, loving soul.

A memorial service will be held for Smith at noon Saturday at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 8305 US-301, Parrish.

-- Richard Dymond contributed to this report.

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051.

Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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