Multi-Car Crash Leaves 5 Dead Near Tampa
Following a fiery crash involving four vehicles in Tampa, police report that five people are dead. According to Florida Highway Patrol, the crash claimed the lives of three adults and two children including 9-year-old John Bernal and 10-year-old Isabell Bernall. Also in the same vehicle were three other passengers. Marianela Murillo, age 39, also died from injuries when the vehicle caught on fire minutes after the crash. The two survivors remain in the hospital. Police say that 15-year-old Luisa Louisa and 18-year-old Lina Bernal are both in critical condition.
The cause of the accident is still unknown, but police do know that Pablo Cortes Jr., age 22, caused the crash. After losing control of his vehicle, Cortes crossed the median and crashed into into multiple vehicles in a string of head-on collisions. In his car, passenger Jolie Bartolome, age 19, also died in the accident. A third vehicle was also involved in the accident and the driver suffered serious injuries.
Investigators from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department are working with Florida Highway Patrol to try to determine what caused the massive accident and resulting fire. The collision resulting in five fatalities happened at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Coconut Palm Drive.
Witnesses reported that street racing was the potential cause for the crash. In an interview with ABC Action News, Gregory Hawkins recalled driving down MLK Boulevard and seeing two cars speed by. Moments later, he said he was pulling children out of a car that was involved in the accident. Local residents also confirmed Hawkins’ report, stating that street racing is very common in the area where the crash happened.
So far, police have not commented on whether street racing was involved. Following the crash, MLK Boulevard was completely blocked off for the night. It was around 4:30 AM when officials finally cleared the scene and reopened the road to local traffic.
“Anytime we see an accident of this magnitude that claims the lives of innocent children, it causes serious concern,” said Tampa personal injury attorney Bill Winters. “As an attorney in this area, I routinely work with victims of accidents that have suffered major, life altering injuries. It’s always more tragic when there are children involved.”
Personal injury attorneys in Tampa frequently represent victims of car accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident that left you with serious injuries or health problems, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering. Work with a local attorney to learn about your rights and find out if you are a good candidate for a personal injury lawsuit. Tampa attorneys can represent victims from a variety of collisions ranging from car or motorcycle accidents to bicycle accidents or hit-and-run crashes. If a loved one dies in a fatal crash, attorneys can sometimes help you open a case against negligent parties that were potentially involved. Schedule a consultation to find out more about how Tampa personal injury attorneys can assist you.