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Tampa Cop Narrowly Avoids Head-On Crash with Wrong-Way Driver

Tampa Police | Aja Cancela | Wrong-Way Driver

Tampa police charged the wrong-way driver with DUI.

TAMPA – A police officer narrowly missed being involved in a head-on crash with a wrong-way driver on I-275 early this morning (March 20).

But Tampa police say they were able to catch and arrest the driver. Charged with DUI was Aja S. Cancela, 34, of 10523 Fire Oak Court in Riverview.

Tampa police Officer S. Van Treese, who works for the department’s DUI unit, was headed home on northbound I-275 about 5:06 this morning (March 20). At Fowler Avenue, he saw a 2010 gray Honda headed south in the northbound lane at a high rate of speed in the same lane he was traveling. Police said Van Treese “took evasive actions narrowly avoiding a collision while calling out the wrong-way driver over the police radio.”

Another Tampa officer, Gregory Murphy, saw the Honda leave the interstate in the wrong direction at the Busch Boulevard ramp. Police said Murphy stopped the Honda. Police said he saw signs the driver had been drinking and called the DUI unit for help. After conducting field sobriety tests, police arrested Cancela and charged her with DUI.

The Tampa Bay area has seen a spate of wrong-way drivers and crashes in the past few weeks. Hillsborough Deputy John Kotfila Jr. was killed March 12 in a head-on collision with a vehicle that was driving the wrong direction on the Selmon Expressway. A witness said Deputy Kotfila intentionally maneuvered his patrol car in order to absorb the impact and to prevent the wrong way driver from striking the witness’s vehicle.

For information about the Tampa Police Department, go to

Tampa Police | Kotfila | Wrong-Way Driver | I-275 | TB Reporter

#TampaPolice | Kotfila | Wrong-Way Driver | I-275 | TB Reporter

Tampa Cop Narrowly Avoids Head-On Crash with Wrong-Way Driver
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Tampa Cop Narrowly Avoids Head-On Crash with Wrong-Way Driver
Tampa police charged the Riverview woman with DUI.
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TB Reporter
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