One person was killed and eight injured in an alcohol-related traffic crash at the intersection of McMullen Booth and Curlew roads in Pinellas County early Saturday, officials said.
The accident occurred about 1 a.m. when a 2008 Dodge Caliber ran a traffic light on McMullen Booth Road at Curlew Road, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The Dodge collided with a 2003 Ford F-250 pickup truck headed eastbound on Curlew Road as both vehicles entered the intersection. The Ford F-250 had the green light at the time, state troopers said.
The Ford pickup overturned on impact.
One vehicle caught fire, according to the Clearwater Police Department.
There were five people in the Dodge Caliber at the time of the crash and three in the Ford. Some of those involved were high school students.
Jocelyn Kaila Schirmer, 18, of St. Petersburg, a passenger in the Dodge Caliber. was pronounced dead at the scene. Grimald Andrad is Schirmer's grandmother. She said the family is having a hard time making sense of the crash.
"It's sad when your grandkids go out for the night and by the morning you get a notice that they are dead," said Andrad.
Donovan L. Patterson, 18, of Pinellas Park and the driver of the Dodge Caliber, along with three other passengers, 15-year-old Kianna Diaz of Riverview, 15-year-old Jayla Simpson of Pinellas Park and 20-year-old Caleb Moore Lindsay of Naples, were injured and taken to hospitals in Tampa.
Dalton A. Cox, 22, of Clearwater, who was driving the Ford F-250, was injured along with his passengers, 21-year-old Megan Bortolis of Palm Harbor, and 23-year-old Victoria Rowe of Dunedin, were taken to area hospitals.
The multiple trauma alerts required several victims to be airlifted to the hospital Florida Highway Patrol report indicated alcohol was involved.
Charges are pending.
Clearwater police, and firefighters from Clearwater Fire & Rescue, Safety Harbor and Palm Harbor responded to assist the Florida Highway Patrol.
The crash closed portions of the road until 6:35 a.m. Saturday. The intersection of McMullen Booth and Curlew roads has reopened.
The Tampa Bay chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving continues to push for people planning for a night of fun ahead of time, and making smart choices, in hopes that lives will be saved.
"Once you got out and you've had one drink, two drinks, you're done. You're not going to make the right choice. All we want is for people to listen and change attitudes about drinking and driving," said Linda Unfried, co-founder of MADD Tampa.
The organization is holding its annual fundraising and awareness event at USF later this month. You can learn more about it here.