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FHP: Suspected drunk driver to blame for fiery wrong-way crash on I-275 in St. Pete

Posted at 10:47 AM, Mar 22, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — A suspected drunk driver is to blame for a violent crash on I-275 in St. Petersburg early Friday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Jessica Murphy, 37 of St. Petersburg was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of I-275 around 3:17 a.m.

She collided with Priscilla Mouzon, 24, of Clearwater between 54th Steet and Gandy Blvd. Mouzon's family tells ABC Action News she broke two ankles and was rushed into surgery Friday afternoon following the crash.

The impacted caused Murphy’s car to erupt into flames.

Troopers arrested Murphy for DUI with serious injury, reckless driving and driving the wrong way.

Mouzon's uncle, Victor Ball, says his family's only explanation for how his niece survived is God. “When you look at the pictures, there is no way we thought she would come out alive. We believe God protects us even when we can't protect ourselves and I’m just grateful.”

Mouzon tells her family that she never saw the car headed straight towards her.

“It’s probably good she didn’t see it because she probably would have been scared out of her mind,” Ball explained.

Both Murphy and Mouzon are expected to be okay.

ABC Action News went striaght to FDOT to find out if anything else can be done to prevent wrong way crashes.

FDOT Spokesperson Kris Carson says there are several wrong way signs along I-275, and they are in the process of adding sensors along the Howard Frankland Bridge that would alert drivers to someone traveling in the wrong direction.

This crash is now prompting FDOT to take a second look at the I-275 corridor to see if other changes should be made to curb the dangerous behavior.

FHP Troopers are still working to figure out where and how Murphy began driving in the wrong direction.