Deadly accident shuts down US 19 in Tarpon Springs - FOX 13 News

Deadly accident shuts down US 19 in Tarpon Springs

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TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13) -

Tarpon Springs Police is investigating a traffic fatality on U.S. 19.

Officers said two people are dead.

Just after 3 A.M., Patrick Rhodes of Entertainment Center got a call from his employee.

"He heard a loud explosion. He looked outside the window and he said it looked like fireworks going out," said Rhodes.  

His business on U.S. 19 near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. was still open, but left in the dark.

"The power had gone out," he said.

His employee did not leave the building, but the sound caught the attention of a Tarpon Springs Police officer checking on businesses in Tarpon Tower.

"He described to be he thought a missile hit the ground on impact over on MLK and U.S. 19," said Captain Jeff Young.

He headed toward the area and found downed power lines.

He tried stopping southbound traffic but two vehicles struck the downed power lines.

"Two vehicles entered the intersection and struck the wires at that location," said Capt. Young.

Marchelle Wallace was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.

The other vehicle that hit the downed lines was a 2007 black Chevy Silverado.

The driver, Charles Robidas, and two passengers, Richard and Carole Johnson, were uninjured.

A worker from a nearby McDonald's approached the officer telling him he saw a white vehicle headed north, and another red vehicle go airborne into the retention pond on the east side of U.S. 19 northbound.

"The officers could see some debris in the water couldn't see the vehicle that well but they thought they saw a tire," said Capt. Young.

Duke Energy was called out due to three downed power lines and multiple live wires.

Once Duke Energy was able to get power off, an adult male was located next to one of the downed lines.

"The working presumption right now is the individual out on the roadway was the driver of the vehicle," said Capt. Young.

It is unclear if he was a pedestrian or an occupant of the vehicle located in the pond.

The tarpon springs police dive team pulled the car out of the pond and found another male passenger dead in the car.

Police have not said if speed was a factor, but say they can't rule it out.

"A vehicle getting airborne is going to require some amount of speed," said Capt. Young.

The road has been reopened.

The investigation is ongoing.

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