PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Three people are injured and three businesses are left with big messes to clean up after a series of crashes involving drivers barreling straight into buildings, signs and even grave sites.
“It’s wrong. It’s just plain wrong,” Bill Ruble said. He can’t believe the tranquil place he visits his late mother in law was transformed into a crash scene Sunday.
“Even if it was an accident your speed in that park should be no more than 3 or 5 miles per hour. That’s a sacred place,” he elaborated.
FHP troopers cited a 59-year-old woman Sunday for careless driving. Investigators say she was arguing with the passenger in her car when she rammed into a mausoleum at the Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Petersburg, damaging three graves.
Her 63-year-old passenger was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
It’s the latest in a series of crashes involving drivers slamming into businesses. Aloha To Go Restaurant on Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores remained closed Monday after a driver rammed into the restaurant injuring two people who were eating dinner and narrowly dodging two employees.
Susan Flaherty, a manager at the restaurant, says she is grateful the injuries weren’t worse.
“Our employees had just moved out of the way just in time and we are really grateful for that,” said Flaherty.
Witnesses say the driver who hit the restaurant pressed on the gas pedal instead of the break.
Hour earlier, on Saturday morning, Pinellas Park Police say an older man behind the wheel of his car smashed through a Dollar General Store on 66th Street just North of 62nd Avenue. There were no major injuries, but officers say the driver and a few customers were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg city leaders are still trying to figure out who hit the Welcome to St. Petersburg sign on the Northbound side of the Howard Frankland Bridge. City leaders believe the massive sign was hit on December 6, yet the city is still working with FHP to figure out who hit the sign before assessing the cost and making repairs.
FHP troopers hope the series of crashes sends a message to drivers to pay attention. Investigators tell ABC Action News they’re seeing a continuous problem with distracted and careless driving.