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Car driver hurt badly in tangle with firetruck

[Times photo: Dan McDuffie]
Officials investigate an 8:30 a.m. accident Monday involving a car and firetruck at County Line Road and Lake Como drive in Lutz.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 14, 2000

LUTZ -- A fire engine slammed into a car that rolled through a stop sign on County Line Road on Monday, critically injuring the car's driver.

It took emergency workers 40 minutes to pry Kathleen Casiglia, 24, from the 1991 Toyota Tercel, which was crushed by the 36,000-pound truck.

Casiglia, of 1219 Magnolia Woods Court, was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital.

Two volunteer firefighters from Lutz were aboard the pumper truck, which was on a routine training exercise. John Saunders, the 19-year-old driver of Engine 24, was treated for back and neck pain at University Community Hospital and released. The other firefighter on board was not injured.

Ray Yeakley, a spokesman for Hillsborough Fire Rescue, said Saunders, a recently certified driver, and company officer Louis Potenzian had taken out the truck to let volunteer Jayson Willman practice driving.

Willman followed them in a pickup and was not involved in the accident.

The firetruck was traveling west on County Line Road and approaching the intersection with Lake Como Drive when the accident occurred at 8:30 a.m.

Investigators said Casiglia was traveling south on Lake Como Drive. At County Line Road, she failed to stop.

"She slowed down, but she did one of those rolling stops," said Deputy Joseph Kervin of the Sheriff's Office. "The firetruck tried to avoid her, but he couldn't."

Kervin said the truck was traveling no faster than 20 mph.

Saunders, the driver of the engine, has been a member of the volunteer department for 18 months. Yeakley, the Fire Rescue spokesman, said he was certified to drive the engine Sept. 30.

- Michael Sandler can be reached at (813) 226-3472 or sandler@sptimes.com.

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