CLEARWATER, Fla. — Clearwater Police arrested three people early Friday morning after a series of crashes on the Courtney Campbell Causeway that started with a wrong-way driver.
According to a press release, the wrong-way car was reported just after midnight in the westbound lanes. After a crash police say the driver Juan Caraballo, 23, and the passenger Veronica Tejada, 30, switched places. The release says they were both impaired.
Police say the Caraballo and Tejada turned in the right direction and continued driving. Officers in the area patrolling for drunk drivers stopped them on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
"I talked with two different Sergeants who were responding to the scene out there and each of them relayed that in the back of their mind all they could think about during even that short window was the tragic accident in Tampa that took the life of the patrol officer over there," said Clearwater Police spokesperson Rob Shaw.
Around the same time, police say Maria Perdomo, 33, hit the back of a Clearwater officer's patrol car as the officer responded to the initial crash. The officer was not injured but his vehicle was seriously damaged.
Perdomo was also under the influence, police say.
Guerrero was charged with DUI with property damage, aggravated battery, leaving the scene of a crash and possession of marijuana. Tejada was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana.
Perdomo was charged with DUI.
No injuries were reported from either crash.
Clearwater Police says the department has enhanced DUI patrols on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Memorial Causeway and other roads as part of Spring Break. That will continue for the next few weeks.
"In today's era of ride shares and designated drivers and other alternatives, there is no excuse to get behind the wheel of a car if you have been drinking," said Police Chief Dan Slaughter.