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Driver badly hurt in crash

It's the 10th serious wreck on the new Belcher extension.

By Angie Drobnic Holan, Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008

Rescue workers tend to the driver of a car that was hit by a minivan Tuesday morning on Belcher Road at Gleneagles Parkway. The injured driver faces a citation for violating the right of way, an FHP trooper said.
[Douglas R. Clifford | Times]

A woman was critically injured Tuesday morning in an accident on the new extension of Belcher Road, the 10th serious accident on that stretch since its opening last summer.

Sarah L. Zweifel, 28, was driving south on Belcher Road in a minivan with her two daughters, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. About 8:15 a.m., an eastbound Chevy sedan driven by Cynthia Hinton, 26, pulled out from Gleneagles Parkway into Zweifel's path.

The minivan crashed into the side of the sedan, sending the vehicles careening around the intersection.

Hinton was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where she was listed in serious condition. Zweifel and her two preteen daughters declined treatment at the scene.

Trooper James Bregon said Hinton faces a citation for violating the right-of-way at the intersection.

Traffic is regulated by flashing red lights on Gleneagles Parkway and flashing yellow lights on Belcher Road.

Palm Harbor Fire Rescue has a station at the corner. When fire vehicles need to get in or out, the traffic is paused on Belcher.

Bregon, the trooper, said the light at the corner should be made into a regular stoplight to force traffic to halt.

"Since we've opened up, we've had several bad accidents on that stretch of road," Bregon said.

The county, however, has no plans to make that light a red-yellow-green signal, according to Tom Washburn, a senior traffic engineer.

He said the county has been monitoring the number of crashes along the approximately 2-mile stretch of Belcher Road, which connects Alderman Road to Klosterman Road.

Since it opened in August, there have been 10 serious crashes, seven during the day and three at night. But Washburn said he expects to see fewer wrecks as drivers get used to the road.

"The one that happened this morning is the first one I've received since December," Washburn said.

Researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at or 727 445-4157.

[Last modified February 19, 2008, 20:43:10]

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