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Crash kills Brandon couple, baby

A car sideswipes theirs, sending them across the median and into the path of a pickup.

By MELIA BOWIE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 22, 2002

VALRICO -- Almost 12 hours after her simple lane change led to an accident that claimed three lives Thursday, Gloria Griffin still was unsure how it happened.

All she knew was that 7-month-old De'Miyah Reid and her parents, Michael Antonio Reid, 24, and Dehavalyn Robinson, 23, of Brandon, were alive when the helicopter took them away in the morning.

And now they were not.

"I don't know what to do and what not to do," she said Thursday evening, her arms wrapped around her stomach as the sun set on her Valrico home. "What to say? It all happened so fast."

The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident began when Griffin, 21, sideswiped the Brandon family's 1996 Geo Metro when she attempted to change lanes.

Reid, who was driving on the inside lane of westbound State Road 60, lost control and crossed the median, then veered into the path of an oncoming Ford pickup.

"They were hit and went across the road and then they were hit by another vehicle," said FHP Lt. David Apgar. The accident happened at 7:12 a.m.

Only Robinson was wearing a seat belt, authorities said. The family was flown to Tampa General Hospital. A nursing supervisor said both parents were barely alive when they arrived, and died soon after. The infant did not survive the trip.

The driver of the 1995 Ford pickup, James E. Buchanan, 48, of Tampa, suffered minor injuries. Griffin, who was driving a 1996 Mercury Sable, was unhurt.

An investigation is continuing, Apgar said, but no charges have been filed.

The drive started as a typical commute for Griffin, who took the same route every day to her job as a medical records clerk at TGH.

The sun was already up and she soon merged with the morning traffic on State Road 60.

There was lots of traffic, "like always," Griffin said.

She had never met the Brandon family who lived 6 miles away from her in an apartment at 207 Derby Downs Place.

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