Businessman Lance Ringhaver dies in crash

- A long-time Bay Area business man died in a crash on U.S. 41 Monday evening. 

Florida Highway Patrol said Lance C. Ringhaver hit a tractor trailer that had blocked U.S. 41 after failing to make a full left turn from Towaway Avenue. The driver of the semi, 38-year-old Isbel Perez Guzman, was ticketed for failure to yield right-of-way.

Ringhaver, a resident of Apollo Beach, was 76.

Lance Ringhaver was well known in the Bay Area for his role in brining Major League Baseball to the Tampa Bay. He was a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rays' principal owner, Stuart Sternberg issued a statement saying, "The Rays join the entire Tampa Bay community in mourning the passing of Lance Ringhaver. He was a founding member of the Rays ownership group and a key figure in helping secure the franchise. Beyond his love for the Rays, Lance's influence as one of Florida's  premier businessmen and philanthropists helped shape much of Tampa Bay's development over the past four decades."

He was more broadly known for his role in Ring Power Corporation, a business he and his younger brother, Randy took over from their father, according to RingPower.com.  

Lance Ringhaver was appointed president of the company in 1976 at the age of 36, after his father's health began to decline. After Caterpillar chose to make Ring Power its Central Florida Dealer, the company grew, opening a corporate headquarters in St. Augustine in 2005.

Ringhaver retired in December 2003, but continued to serve as chairman emeritus.

Lance Ringhaver also chaired the Port Authority board, but was asked to resign after suffering a stroke.

Port Tampa Bay issued a statement Tuesday, saying, "Port Tampa Bay was saddened to hear about the tragic accident and passing of Lance Ringhaver last night. Mr. Ringhaver was a true public servant and ardent supporter of the port, as well as the entire Tampa Bay community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones at this difficult time."

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