Odessa Man Dies in Fiery Dale Mabry Crash

The man’s Ford Explorer burst into flames after it struck another vehicle early this morning, Feb. 24.

A 20-year-old Odessa man is dead following an early morning crash today, Feb. 24, on Dale Mabry Highway at Bearss Avenue.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the accident occurred around 5:30 a.m. when a Ford Explorer driven by Michael Gregory Backus of Odessa was traveling northbound on North Dale Mabry Highway and ran a red light. Backus’ Explorer crossed into the path of another vehicle that was trying to make a left-hand turn onto Bearss Avenue under a green traffic signal.

The front left portion of Backus’ Explorer struck the front right portion of the 2003 Ford Expedition driven by Edward Scanlon, 49, of Tampa, a highway patrol media release said.

Backus’ vehicle rotated clockwise, overturned and then struck a pedestrian cross walk sign before bursting into flames, the release said. Scanlon’s vehicle spun counter-clockwise and ended up facing southwest in the center lane of Dale Mabry Highway.

Backus died at the scene, the release said.

Scanlon and his passenger, Michael Patrick Scanlon, 43, of Indian Trail, N.C., suffered serious injuries.

The accident remains under investigation.

Stay with Carrollwood-Northdale Patch for updates as they become available.

Ofelia February 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I am so very sorry. The loss of a loved one is so terribly painful. We never want to see them go. This is why I tell my family every day how much I love them and show them how important they are to me. Because one minute you are here and the other you are not. I know this is a very difficult time right now. All I can say is love those you love deeply every single day. These things change the way you look at life. Just remember the past is history, the future is a mystery but the present is a gift. Love while you can. I will keep your family in my prayers. Be strong for those who remain.
TampaMom February 26, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Heartbreaking loss. Young man with his whole life ahead of him. Lovely family - I know them. Please everyone drive safe. My love and prayers to the Backus and Scanlon families.
Debbie February 26, 2013 at 02:30 AM
I saw this in the paper this morning and just was hoping it was not Michael that I taught in third grade. I now realize that it is. When I think back those many years, I just remember a very bright boy and well-behaved. Just a good kid. To Michael's family I am deeply sorry for your loss. May somehow God give you that peace that only He can give during this time.
RD February 26, 2013 at 06:18 AM
I'm sorry for this family's loss but my heart is with the victims of the other car. When my daughter was driving irresponsibly, we took her car away. We not only worried about her safety but the safety of others. I'd love to give this kid the benefit of the doubt but I'm going to err on the side of a 20 year old boy in a big SUV who thought he was invincible.
RD February 26, 2013 at 06:20 AM
I should have added that I might have more sympathy for this boy if I saw a single comment from one of his friends or family about how sorry they are for what he did to the people in the other car.
Nunya Bizness February 26, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Thank You...Well said!! Exactly my sentiments as well! There ARE victims here, 2 brothers who ARE now suffering because of this young mans inexcuseable decision to NOT stop at a Red light BUT run it!! When the investigation is all over alcohol could/might have something to do with it!
Nunya Bizness February 26, 2013 at 01:31 PM
When the police are finished with the investigation, mark my words this is what will be found: #1) Under The Influence of a Ban Substance! #2) Failure To Drive The Posted Speed Limit (Speeding!) #3) Failure To Obey a Traffic Control Signal/Device http://florida.mugshotsdatabase.com/410447/michael-backus-mug-shot/
Family Member February 26, 2013 at 01:55 PM
RD and Nunya Bizness, you know NOTHING about my family and what we are going through right now!! We are sorry that two men ended up in the hospital in this situation. We are sorry that they are suffering at this time. Everyone makes mistakes!!! Nunya Bizness I did not realize that you had a Crystal Ball, I would love to take a look at it with you sometime since it has obviously shown you the outcome of the investigation. You have to understand, Michael's mistake or not, his mother just lost her mother only a month ago and for this tragedy to have occurred it is a very difficult time for all of us. Should Michael have been driving slower and more cautiously, ABSOLUTELY!! Do we wish that all of this would have been different, WITHOUT a doubt!! Please before you slander someone else’s family think about how it will affect them. Oh and, posting his mug shot, WOW you have no life that you took the time to research this! Can I have your real name so I can look up and see what your mug shot looks like??
Nunya Bizness February 26, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Dear Family: An accident, ls something unavoidable. A mistake is something done consciously, intentionally, that doesn't seem like it will lead to trouble until after it's too late to correct it!! YES, your son made a BIG MISTAKE!! ...and NO I have NEVER EVER Been Arrested ...and Yes I have No life because I'm semi-retired and have time to Investigate AND I Love It!! I can tell you this, I was molested when I was just 6, I had 3 step-moms, I had to live with Aunt & Uncles, I had a Step-Mom that was brutal, I was in a Foster-Home ALL before I was 14, None of that was my fault but those who conceived me, BUT I NEVER EVER let my past, take control or my circumstances dictate on living/doing right! I served my country as a U.S. Marine, started 2 of my own businesses, raised 3 daughters, have 4 grandchildren and been married for over 36 years. Be Honest with Yourself...Your son made a Deadly Choice...and was NOT an Outstanding Citizen. My sympathy's with the Victims in the other vehicle that were obeying the law.
Ofelia February 26, 2013 at 03:15 PM
NOBODY knows or will ever know what truly happened that early morning. NOONE is to judge here or assume anything. I think the mugshot thing was a nasty gesture at a time like this. Of course if we are human we DO FEEL bad for the other victims. This life is gone. That can never be replaced. FAMILY MEMBER.....don't let yourself get bothered by any stupid comments at a time like this. Your family has had enough pain and suffering already. Just pray for those ignorant people out there that haven't had such a tragedy happen to them. They don't know any better.
Nunya Bizness February 26, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Ofelia...You have NO idea...Of what I have been through...My brother was involved in a car accident/wreck in 1990, and I have had to deal with that tragedy ever since! My brother was in a coma for almost a week, came through BUT has a bum leg, a bum arm ALL because he would NOT listen to me when I told him NOT go drinking, he tried to walk across Hillsborough Ave at 1 o'clock in the morning and was struck by a car and now is in a Assisted Living Facilty. Family...If you DON'T want to read the truth, Remove yourself from this Article!
Ofelia February 26, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Dear nunya bizness.... I'm truly sorry for all that you have been through. With that said, then you should have a little more sympathy and understanding for this family that lost their 20 year old son and not be so cold hearted towards them. No, I will NOT remove myself from this article! Thank you and have a marvelous day!!!
RD February 26, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Here's what I know about your family that's undisputable: - What I know about your family is that you have taken the time to post on here several times asking for people to pardon Michael but it took my comment for you to acknowledge that Michael severely injured 2 men due to his negligence. - Michael was Baker Acted less than a year ago for domestic violence. - He was 20 years old. - He played chicken with a red light and he lost. Let him be a lesson to all young boys who think they're above the law and don't care about the consequences of their actions.
Ofelia February 26, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Baker acted, domestic violence, possible alcohol, mug shots....is really none of anybody's business here. The facts are that Michael passed away due to WHATEVER may have happened and two others are injured. Why keep digging? A family is suffering. We can't change what or how it happened. No one deserves to die no matter what they have done. If it was one of my sons I would be devastated no matter what faults he may have had. I could never see him again and that pain is like no other. I will keep both families in my prayers and also all those who don't understand.
RD February 26, 2013 at 05:53 PM
I hope you never personally experience the horrors of what people like Michael do to innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a person who was a pedestrian hit by drunk driver almost 40 years ago, I know first hand how it feels to be a survivor, the years of pain and suffering you go through, and the emotional and physical scars you bear for the rest of your life. I already stated that I took my daughter's car away when we saw her driving carelessly. I'm not saying he was drunk, I'm saying that you're the one who doesn't understand. I'm fully aware of what it's like. You, on the other hand, are a young person with their whole life ahead of them but apparently learning nothing from this horrible accident.
Ofelia February 26, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I am 40 years old if you call that young and I have 6 children ranging from 17 to one on the way in June. I just hope that I never have to experience the loss of a child. I have seen my uncle suffer since his daughter got killed by the motorcycle and its a pain I never want to go through. Why point fingers? I feel bad for both sides. I'm sure Michael didn't run the red light on purpose to hurt anyone or to kill himself. This is why it's called an accident. It's an unfortunate event no matter how you look at it.
Ofelia February 27, 2013 at 01:57 AM
I just Passed by the scene at 7:10 pm and saw everyone out there relighting the candles. How sad. Every story has two sides and unfortunately one side of this story will never be told. I do feel bad for the victims in the case. I do wish for their quick recovery. However, if you want to get technical....at 5 am it's still dark outside and if I'm at the light of dale Mabry to turn left on bears and I'm alert enough to see a forthcoming pair of headlights zooming in my direction I'm going to stop or try to avoid getting hit. Just because the light was green doesn't mean the coast is clear. Like I said, it's a sad situation for both parties involved. It's a story that will only ever have one side to tell. It's just not fair. Good night and my prayers for both families.
RD February 27, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Wow! It sure sounds like you're insinuating that the Scanlons are to blame for the accident that killed Michael. You are a piece of work, Ofelia. That's an all-time low and says more about you than anything else you have posted.
Crystal February 27, 2013 at 03:09 AM
I am deeply sorry for all who suffered and I am thankful the lives of the 2 other men were not also lost. My son went to high school and was friends with Mike.. He is devastated just as all that had the privilege to know him are... To Mike's parents and family don't let some of these comments get to you, people are truly ignorant.. To post his mugshot and attack this young man who lost his life and can no longer defend himself is truly repulsive.. Nothing is black and white and none of us are in any position to judge.. My son described Mike as a great person and he will be missed deeply by so many and he will never ever be forgotten... I am so very sorry for your loss..
Ofelia February 27, 2013 at 04:12 AM
RD no that's wrong. It's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is that sometimes things aren't what they seem that's all and we will never really know what happened. I can't say anyone was to blame because I was not there with them so saying that would be unfair. I'm just looking at things a little open minded. Don't get it twisted.
manor February 27, 2013 at 08:58 PM
I agree. Too many people don't stop at the red lights and the drivers that obey the lights suffer. I am sure this was not the first time this young man did not stop at the red light and it wouldn't have been the last. The next time it would have killed someone else. Very sorry for his loss and the others injured, but drivers have to slow down and stop at the red lights. Glad to hear that the other drivers did not also perish because of his bad choice.
Brian Maday March 02, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Don't know what the 'real' statistics are, but I have lived in quite a few states, and FLORIDA has GOT to be the WORST for red-light runners - 'California stop sign' are probably high on the list as well. This accident occurred about 3 miles from where I live, and I'm VERY familiar with the intersection. I genuinely feel badly that this cost a life - my condolences to all the friends and family. NOW: It's time for ALL drivers to STOP their hurried driving, and follow traffic laws - especially RED LIGHT RUNNERS! You might save a couple minutes by 'running the light' - but you might also KILL someone! leave 3 minutes earlier, or arrive 5 minutes later. in a hundred years, no one will KNOW or CARE. Please don't make this an "assignment of blame". Take this for what it is - a TRAFFIC SUGGESTION form one who does NOT want to get maimed or killed by an unknown PUSHING IT driver!
CM-Close Friend March 04, 2013 at 02:30 AM
are you kidding me? i know Mike feels terrible for hurting two other people. His friends AND family had a chance to meet with two of the family members from the people in the hospital. He had a good and good intentions. that's what you are asking for when his family and friends are going through such a terrible loss. he was one of my closest friends. yes, there are two victims but they are healing and still have their life. Mike was 20 and had his whole life ahead of him. please be respectful in what you post, his family gets on here and read what you people write. especially if you didn't know him. so now we're exchanging stories to find out who feels more bad for who? "what Michael do to innocent people". you don't know Michael. i was with him an hour before his accident. I know that he is up there watching over those two people that are injured and he will make sure they have a healthy recovery.
Sara March 05, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Couldn't have said it better Ofelia. Judge not lest we be judged. Pray for others in their time of need. When down in a pit we need a hand to get up not dirt kicked in our face.
Paul Streicher March 05, 2013 at 01:37 PM
I don't know what all the rush is about these days. I cross Dale Mabry each week day morning and the cars behind me are right on my bumper. Others can't wait to zoom around me. I do five miles above the speed limit most times and nothing more. Still, you would think I was a slow poke to those quck paced drivers. Even when I see a red light up ahead and I ease off the gas to slow, there is always someone in the inner lane that has the pedal to the metal. For what reason it there to be in a hurry to get to a stop light I ask. My goal when driving is to make my brakes and my gas last. It pays me to keep alert to what's ahead. Get a life folks and drive like there IS a tomorrow, please, for all of our sake.
Kim March 08, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Shame on all of you who have left nasty comments on this site. My son was a friend of Michael's and he has been silently suffering the loss of his friend. I can't imagine what Michael's family is going through, as our hearts are breaking in our family for his. As my son has been on the corner with the candles, and is preparing for the funeral on Saturday, he is devastated over the loss of a friend. I have prayed for the other 2 victims as I am sure many people have and hope for a full recovery. We have all suffered losses and tragedies in our families and I am sorry for what ever you have gone through (to the negative people) but with all due respect, keep your personal issues to yourself and stop making them a reason to lash out at a grieving family. God Bless.
Greg Crouch March 09, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Everyone needs to back off the Backus family they have been thru a lot of hell these past years! It don't make you a bad person under the influence ! Just a bad decision,don't hate and pray for them in their grief,the lord will heal it all . Greg Crouch
Love Everyone Unconditionally March 09, 2013 at 06:15 PM
Love -everyone- unconditionally forever. Less judging and more love! So sorry for your loss family. Matthew 22:39 Romans 3:23 Matthew 7:1-5 Matthew 5:43-48
Amber Tegelhutter May 13, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I came on here to express my condolences, but apparently you heartless people have other plans. Michael was a great person. He made stupid decisions, as a quick google search will bring up. But thats all you people have seen about him. Yes, other people were hurt. But they are also in their 50's. They survived and had a full recovery. Michael on the other hand was 20.. just turned 20 actually in December. A child you are slandering. One that you don't know anything about other than what the internet has shown you. He had dreams that will never be fulfilled because he called his girlfriend at the wrong time. Thats the truth. He looked down at his phone at the wrong time and ran a red light. There's a message on her phone at 5:02 of just wind when the accident took place. I don't care what happened to you in your life. People go through tough stuff every day, but to be as heartless as you and only care that people were injured and not about the family who lost a child, you are a soulless human being. Brenda, I love you, Aaron and Benjamin. I will continue to pray for you guys everyday. Michael was a great man and will be remembered as such.
Fed Up May 16, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Get your facts staight. Michael did not die from calling his girlfriend and looking at his phone. Michael died because his blood alcohol level was .30 (almost 4 times legal limit) and he was driving 93 mph. and had THC in his system. The other parties in this accident have not fully recovered. They are still not back at work and one recently had to have more surgery.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something