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    3 die after car crosses median

    Deputies see no signs that the driver who crossed the median tried to swerve in the Sunday morning accident.

    By MICHAEL SANDLER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 2, 2002


    TAMPA -- Three people were killed and three others injured after a collision Sunday morning that shut down a busy thoroughfare in northern Hillsborough for several hours.

    Authorities have yet to determine why Donald Mason drifted across the median of Ehrlich Road near Carrollwood Village in his 1997, four-door Kia Sephia about 10:30 a.m.

    They said Mason, heading west, drove on the 4-foot-wide median for about 100 feet before crossing into oncoming traffic.

    He smashed head-on into a 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis carrying a family.

    A 1998 Ford Taurus slammed into the Mercury from behind, spinning the car in the middle of the eastbound lane.

    There was no indication Mason tried to avoid the Mercury. "There was no sudden jerking," said Deputy John Duran, a traffic homicide investigator.

    Mason, 67, of 14813 Pine Crest Drive, and Dolores Ytuarte Tamargo, 75, a passenger in the Mercury, died at the scene. Tamargo was in the rear of the Mercury. Deputies said she was not wearing a seat belt.

    Driver Joseph Ytuarte, 72, had to be extricated from the Mercury and flown by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he died.

    The other passengers survived the crash and were listed in fair condition Sunday night. Deputies said some were walking around when rescuers arrived.

    Justo Ytuarte, 81, and Diana Ytuarte, were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Deputies said they lived together with Joseph Ytuarte at 5107 Corvette Drive in Northdale, and Tamargo was visiting them. Justo and Joseph Ytuarte were brothers, and Diana Ytuarte was Joseph's daughter. Authorities were not certain of Tamargo's relation.

    Eduardo Juica, 40, the driver of the Taurus, was also taken to St. Joseph's Hospital.

    Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder said an autopsy will be conducted and may determine if Mason had a sudden medical problem that contributed to the crash.

    The accident shut down eastbound traffic on Ehrlich until 2:45 p.m.

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