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Saul-Sena caught up in accident

The Tampa City Council chairwoman's convertible and two other vehicles slam into a van that runs a red light on Sunday afternoon.

Published February 16, 2004

TAMPA - Linda Saul-Sena had the perfect plans for a Sunday afternoon.

Her two daughters were at the Florida State Fair with relatives. So, the Tampa City Council chairwoman decided to have lunch at a restaurant with her husband, Mark Sena.

They drove through South Tampa in their Saab convertible, top down. Then, just after noon, a Dodge Caravan ran a red light at S Boulevard and W Cleveland Street, slamming into Saul-Sena's Saab. Tampa police said her car was pushed into a BMW, which in turn hit a Ford F-150.

The four-car pile-up left the Caravan wrapped around a palm tree.

"If it had been timed just slightly differently," Saul-Sena said shortly after the wreck, the Caravan would have slammed directly into her passenger door. "I feel so incredibly fortunate."

She walked away with no major injuries. Her husband sat near the tangled cars and pressed ice wrapped in a towel on his left knee.

The Caravan driver, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital. Her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, authorities said.

Officers said it's likely she will be charged because she ran a red light. The driver of the Ford F-150, who also was not identified, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Dave Kovacik and Daniel Carroll were heading for a bite to eat when they got caught up in the accident.

"We were the middle car," Carroll said, pointing to the BMW Kovacik was driving. "(The Caravan) hit the Saab. The Saab hit us . . . we all hit (the Caravan)."

Carroll sat on a tree stump next to the Caravan, shaken from the accident. He looked at the minivan, which had its front passenger seat caved in.

"I'm just glad no one was sitting there," Carroll said.

[Last modified February 16, 2004, 01:31:39]

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