Driver arrested on I-275 after wrong-way car accident in Tampa

A Tampa resident was injured in January after a man pulled onto the off ramp and proceeded north in the southbound lane of Interstate 275. A University of South Florida police officer and state troopers arrested the 25-year-old driver of a Kia Optima on the Howard Frankland Bridge. Later that afternoon, he was held in Pinellas County Jail on charges of leaving the scene of an auto accident and driving the wrong way.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Kia started up the off ramp at Gandy Boulevard at approximately 6:10 a.m. The driver of the Kia was in the wrong lane and turned to avoid a head-on collision with a Volkswagen Jetta. The Kia sideswiped the Volkswagen and continued travel in the wrong direction. The 35-year-old driver of the Jetta was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The highway patrol made no mention of whether this was a case of a distracted driver or something more serious. Turning the wrong direction into oncoming highway traffic is often a theme linked to driving while intoxicated. In any case, leaving the scene of an accident prematurely is a serious offense in Florida when injuries are involved.

Hit-and-run accidents present a special risk to drivers. If the offender is not caught, victims holding only liability insurance have few options for recovering medical expenses, property damage or lost wages. Fortunately, this was not the case for the victim of this accident since the driver was caught. Regardless of insurance status, victims can consult with a personal injury lawyer who can help identify potential claims and other sources of compensation.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Man arrested after wrong-way crash near Howard Frankland Bridge,” Meredith Rutland, Jan. 16, 2013

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