Wrong-way driver dies in I-275 crash with ambulance - FOX 13 News

Wrong-way driver dies in I-275 crash with ambulance

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

For the second time this week, a wrong-way driver has caused a wreck on our roads. This time, the results were deadly.

The latest crash happened on Interstate 275 just before 3 a.m. Troopers say the driver -- who still has not been identified -- started going the wrong direction on I-4, then entered the northbound lanes of I-275.

A witness who called 911 said the driver made a u-turn on I-4 near North 50th Street.

"He abruptly turned around in front of me and started heading in the wrong direction," the witness said in a 911 call. "He's going to cause a head-on collision with somebody."

Near Floribraska Avenue, the wrong-way Honda Accord slammed into an oncoming ambulance, which was flipped onto its side by the force of the impact. There were no patients in the ambulance, but the two EMTs were taken to St. Joseph's with minor injuries. They have since been released from the hospital and are expected to return to work in a few days.

"I saw it right in my rearview," a driver can be heard telling a dispatcher in another 911 call. "There was a guy coming head-on going northbound in the southbound lanes, and I swerved out of the way and he ran right head on into some other truck."

The Honda driver was killed. Troopers have not been able to identify him because he was not carrying any identification, and they say, "registration of the vehicle is currently inconclusive."

Troopers believe alcohol and drugs may have been a factor in this crash, which was the fourth wrong way crash on Interstate 275 since February.

Early Wednesday morning, troopers were chasing a driver until he got on the interstate going the wrong direction. The car went a few miles before a head-on crash at Busch Boulevard. No one was seriously injured and the driver was arrested.

Back in February, a horrific crash on I-275 killed five people. Investigators say the driver of an SUV was going the wrong way on I-275 North and collided head-on with another car just north of Busch Boulevard. Both vehicles burst into flames.

Four members of a USF fraternity died, as well as the wrong-way driver, who was later found to be very drunk.

About a week after that crash, a wrong-way driver made a U-turn in the middle of I-275 and started going north in the southbound lanes. A few minutes later, the car crashed into a box truck.

The wrong-way driver died; the two men in the box truck survived.

Troopers say there's not much that can be done when people choose to get behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

"The roadways are designed properly with warning to drivers regarding traveling in the wrong direction to include signage and red reverse reflectors," Sergeant Steve Gaskins wrote Friday. "Drugs and alcohol are the common factor that only the driver(s) can prevent."


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