NewsPinellas County


Woman seriously hurt in crash involving drunk driver in Pinellas County, FHP says

Jessica Thomas remains in intensive care
Posted at 10:11 PM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 23:17:57-04

EAST LAKE, Fla. -- State troopers said a man who was driving under the influence caused a crash on Tuesday evening.

According to an arrest report, 43-year-old Justin Delarosa admitted to troopers to drinking two beers at a friend's house prior to driving.

The report stated, "He rated himself a "2" on a one to ten scale, ten being most impaired. He admitted to feeling the effects of alcohol."

Troopers arrested him for driving under the influence. FHP said he ran a red light and crashed into a 2017 Ford Fusion on Keystone Road and East Lake Road in Pinellas County around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Jessica Thomas, 31, and her mother were in the Ford Fusion. Jessica's roommate was in the driver's seat.

"I started recognizing the other names in the article and realized I knew the people involved and that it was Jessica, just a feeling of shock," said Rob Faiella.

Thomas was rushed to a hospital. According to a crash report, she suffered severe head trauma and underwent surgery for several hours.

Her boss, Rob Faiella, at Rock Avenue Escape Room said she remains in an intensive care unit.

"She's in a real tough period right now. She's not out of the woods with everything yet. She is going to recover. It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of money," said Faiella.

Thomas has worked at the escape room for the past few months while going to school to become a dental hygienist.

"When she showed up for the interview, she was in the door maybe 2 minutes and I looked at my wife and we both just nodded. We just knew. She came in with this smile. She's from North Carolina. She just won us over immediately," said Faiella.

Faiella is donating a portion of his proceeds from the escape room to Thomas.

The community also wants to help her with her medical bills.

Imagine Escape Games on East Bearss Avenue in Tampa will donate 10 percent of its proceeds from Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 22.

"She didn't want people to be sad. She wanted everybody to not be upset because of what's going on with her," added Faiella.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help Thomas with her medical bills.