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Crash draws attention to intersection

A wreck at the intersection of Eiland Boulevard and Dean Dairy Road, where some say they'd like to see more than a flashing light, injures five.

By BRADY DENNIS

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000


ZEPHYRHILLS -- Theresa Scanes has witnessed plenty of car crashes while working at Shannon's Produce stand at the intersection of Eiland Boulevard and Dean Dairy Road.

But Tuesday afternoon's four-car crash, which injured five people and tied up traffic for miles in both directions on Eiland Boulevard, was by far the worst she has seen.

"There are so many accidents here because it's only a flashing red light," she said as an afternoon rain pounded loudly on the produce stand's tin roof.

"They said they would put in a red light only if there was a fatality there. Well, today might be the day."

Luckily, there wasn't a fatality from the crash, but there easily could have been.

Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. Les Douberley said the crash happened about 2:15 p.m. when Margaret Irel Clark, 49, of 16815 Sweetwater Road in Dade City, drove her grey Toyota minivan north on Dean Dairy Road out into the intersection.

Robert D. Anderson, 77, of 5428 Chestnut Ridge Road in Ridge Manor, was driving his red Chrysler minivan east on Eiland Boulevard, returning with three friends from a round of golf at Lake Bernadette.

Anderson hit Clark in her car's driver's side, smashing the front of his minivan. He then veered left and collided head on with a blue GMC pickup truck, driven by Scott Patrick Mudge, 37, of 5223 Highgate Ct. in Zephyrhills.

Clark's gray Toyota van careened and hit a Buick sedan head on, causing only minor damages to the Buick.

After the accident, the inside of Anderson's van was covered in a mixture of glass, blood and rain from a thunderstorm. Mudge's deflated air bag was spattered with blood stains.

The two people in the Buick weren't injured and were allowed to leave the scene.

Others weren't so lucky.

Anderson, the driver of the red van, complained of chest pains and was taken to East Pasco Medical Center, where he remained Friday evening.

"They (medics) think he had a heart attack after the accident," Douberley said.

One of Anderson's passengers, Gene Hawkinson of Ridge Manor, was taken to East Pasco Medical Center. Margaret Clark, the driver of the Toyota van, was taken to the same hospital. Both remained in the emergency room Friday evening.

The other two passengers in the red van were identified by friends at the scene as Ed Smith of Ridge Manor, and Marvin Anderson of Brooksville. One of the two was taken by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Douberley said, though he wasn't sure which one. It isn't clear where the other man was taken.

Mudge, the pickup driver, also was taken by helicopter to a Tampa hospital, though it's unclear which one or the extent of his injuries.

Douberley said Clark was responsible for the accident and would be cited for careless driving.

But that was the last thing on the mind of Robert Anderson's wife, Patricia. She was frantically trying to find out which hospital her husband had been taken to.

"They played golf today at (Lake) Bernadette," she said after asking directions to East Pasco Medical Center. "They were coming home."

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