Driver Charged in Fatal Tampa Crash
Tampa police say he was racing another vehicle. Officers are searching for that pickup truck.
TAMPA – A Tampa man has been charged in connection with a traffic crash that killed one man and left another driver critically injured, the Tampa Police Department said.
William Val Swartz, 88, died from the crash. The driver of the car in which he was riding was critically injured. The driver of a third vehicle involved in the crash suffered minor injuries. The names of the two drivers were not immediately available.
Joseph Obregon, 31, of Tampa, was charged with one count each of vehicular homicide, reckless driving with serious bodily injury, and racing. He was also charged with two counts of reckless driving with injury and property damage. It is unclear if he was injured in the crash.
The crash happened about 10:42 a.m. Tuesday (Dec. 5) at W Sligh Avenue and N Highland Avenue.
Officers said witnesses told them that Obregon, who was driving a 2012 Dodge Ram, was revving the engine at a traffic signal, then rapidly accelerating from a stop, causing the truck to lose traction. A white pickup truck driving next to the Dodge was operating in a similar manner.
Obregon stopped at a traffic signal at Florida Avenue while traveling westbound on W Sligh Avenue, as did the white pickup truck. Both vehicles then rapidly accelerated, reaching a speed that witnesses estimated to be 70 mph.
Obregon’s vehicle struck a 2008 Toyota RAV 4 that was crossing Sligh from south to north. Police said the impact of the crash caused the RAV 4 to strike a TECO pole, resulting in the death of the passenger, Mr. Swartz. The driver of the RAV 4 is in critical condition.
After striking the RAV 4 the Dodge Ram struck another vehicle, a 2011Honda Accord, causing minor injuries to that driver.
Obregon was arrested. Officer said the unidentified driver of the white pick up truck has not been located.
For information about the Tampa police, go to tampagov.net.
Tampa Police | Fatal Crash | William Val Swartz | Crime | Vehicular Homicide | Arrests | Tampabay News
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