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Man dies in 4-car crash blocking I-275


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 28, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- A car headed south on Interstate 275 veered across the median and slammed head-on into a northbound car Tuesday, setting off a chain reaction that killed an 80-year-old man, wrecked four cars and shut down the interstate's northbound lanes for hours.

The accident happened about 4:20 p.m. on I-275 between Roosevelt and Gandy boulevards when a green Ford Mustang veered off the road and went diagonally across the grassy median, breaking through a line of shrubbery in the middle, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The Mustang careened into the three northbound lanes and hit a gray Buick in the center lane. The violent, high-speed collision knocked an 80-year-old passenger out of the Buick. He later died at Bayfront Medical Center.

The Buick was struck from behind by a northbound Ford.

The green Mustang that caused the crash ricocheted from the impact and hit a second Buick.

When it was all over, the four damaged or demolished cars were scattered about northbound I-275 and the highway's shoulders, facing different directions.

Aside from the man who died, four other injured people were airlifted to Bayfront and Tampa General Hospital, including the woman who had been driving the Mustang.

None of their names were available Tuesday night.

The highway patrol had not determined late Tuesday why the woman in the Ford Mustang veered off the road, triggering the chain-reaction.

The accident tied up traffic during the evening rush hour.

Troopers closed northbound I-275 for about three hours, detouring cars onto the Gandy Boulevard exit. Northbound traffic was backed up all the way to 54th Avenue N.

Traffic also was delayed on southbound I-275 and on Roosevelt.

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