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Police: Speed likely a factor in crash that killed New Tampa teen

Posted at 4:40 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 08:50:47-05

NEW TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa police pulled drivers over who were speeding down a New Tampa road 24 hours after a teen was killed in a crash they believe was likely caused by speed.

On Monday, neighbors slowed down to look at the spot where the crash happened and someone even left flowers.

"I feel for the family, I said a prayer for the family members because their lives just changed,” said Ralph Montanez, who lives nearby.

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According to Tampa police, the car the teens were in was driving down K-Bar Ranch parkway when it lost control and veered off the road — they believe speed was a factor.

"I think it’s 35 mph but since they started building houses and people started moving in, that road is almost like a parkway,” said Montanez.

He says people get up to 55 miles per hour or higher. To make things worse, police say the teen that died and the driver weren’t wearing their seat belts.

"It saves lives. It really does, I’m not saying this could’ve saved their lives but the chances of being saved go up exponentially,” he said.

According to new data, not buckling up in the backseat is a problem.

Nationwide the number of people that buckle up in the backseat dropped from 78% to 76% over the course of five years.

But, there is no law in Florida that requires you to do so and the study says rear seat passengers are 2X more likely to die in a crash when not strapped in.

"That’s such a simple thing, putting on a seat belt. Think about that how many lives that could save,” said Montanez.

A short trip in a ride share vehicle was one reason folks surveyed said they didn’t buckle up. They also claimed it wasn’t comfortable or they forgot, among other reasons.

The study recommends states make it law and campaign for the benefits of wearing your seat belt in the back seat. They also say ride share drivers should post signs reminding people to buckle up.

To read the full study, click here.