Temple Terrace Officer Hurt in Head-On, Wrong-Way Crash
Alcohol is not suspected in the Pasco crash. The wrong-way driver received serious injuries.
PASCO COUNTY – A Temple Terrace police officer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries Tuesday (March 22) night after a three-car crash caused by a wrong-way driver, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Temple Terrace police Officer William Dittman was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with minor injuries. FHP troopers said Louise Tobbie Valentine, 63, the wrong-way driver, was airlifted to Bayonet Point with serious injuries. Valentine, from Dade City, was not wearing a seat belt, troopers said. Also receiving minor injuries was the driver of the third vehicle in the crash, Charity Chagro, 20, of Dade City. Chagro was not taken to a hospital.
FHP troopers said the crash happened about 9:10 p.m. Tuesday (March 22) on Clinton Avenue near the intersection of Carmen Avenue in Pasco County. Valentine, who was driving a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, turned left from Fort King Road to go east on Clinton. But, troopers said, she turned into the westbound lanes of Clinton.
Dittman, who was driving a marked Temple Terrace 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle, and Chagro, who was driving a 2008 Honda Civic, were both traveling west on Clinton in the westbound lanes.
The Sonata collided nearly head on with the Tahoe causing it to spin and collide with the Honda, troopers said. All three vehicles came to rest within the roadway on Clinton between Fort King Road and U.S. 301.
FHP troopers said the investigation is continuing and charges are pending.
The Tampa Bay area has seen a rash of wrong-way driving incidents in recent 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. And, on Sunday (March 20), a Tampa police officer narrowly avoided being hit by a wrong-way driver. Alcohol was considered a factor in both of those incidents.
For information about the FHP, go to flhsmv.gov.
Photographs and map are courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Florida Highway Patrol | Pasco County | Wrong-Way Driver | Head-On Crash | Temple Terrace | TB Reporter
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