One person was killed and three seriously injured in a wrong-way crash near downtown Tampa early Thursday morning.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened on I-275 near Interstate 4 just before 3 a.m.
Troopers said a 2012 Ford Fusion driven by 22-year-old Christopher Ponce was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-275 and collided head on with a 2000 Ford Mustang.
The driver of the Mustang, 20-year-old William Angel, was killed at the scene, officials said. Two passengers, 22-year-old Robert Newberry of Lutz and 20-year-old Jay Davis of Wesley Chapel, were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with serious injuries.
Ponce was also taken the Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries.
The crash closed all northbound lanes of I-275. They have since been reopened.
Officials said the investigation into how the Fusion entered the highway the wrong way is ongoing and charges are pending.
“Right now we are not sure if he came from the 275 or the I-4 direction. That’s still under investigation,” said FHP spokesperson Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
Gaskins said there’s is plenty of signage and the reflectors in the middle of the highway turn red when a person is going the wrong direction, clearly alerting them of their mistake.
Gaskins said they are investigating the possibility that Ponce may have been under the influence at the time.
Angel was a 2010 graduate of Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel. His principal said he was a popular honors student and vice president of the ping pong club.
“As I remember him best and as we all remember him. He was a great student,” said Principal Ray Bonti. “To his family, to the Wiregrass community, it’s a very sad day.”
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