PSTA Bus Driver Critical After U.S. 19 Crash
The driver suffered a medical emergency and lost control of the bus, causing a nine-vehicle pileup that closed a portion of U.S. 19 for almost three hours.
PINELLAS COUNTY – A bus driver is in critical condition after a crash Thursday (Oct. 18) on U.S. 19 that involved nine vehicles and blocked traffic for almost three hours, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
John M. Klimaszewski, 56, of St. Petersburg, was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital in critical condition.
Artem Sharf, 26, of New Port Richey, the driver of one of the other vehicles, was taken to Florida Hospital with minor injuries. His passengers, Christina L. Mayes , 18, of Holiday, and Amber Weber, 24, of New Port Richey, were also taken to Florida Hospital with minor injuries.
The crash happened about 11:17 a.m. at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and U.S. 19 N in Pinellas County.
Troopers said Klimaszewski was driving a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus west on Nebraska in the right turn lane for U.S. 19 N when he suffered a medical emergency and lost control of the bus.
The bus hit a 2016 Toyota Camry driven by Lori Ellen Binko, 47, of Palm Harbor, which was stopped in traffic in the right turn lane on Nebraska.
The bus kept moving and hit a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze being driven by Jessica Loureiro, 24, of Oldsmar, which was turning north from eastbound Nebraska onto U.S. 19.
The bus continued into the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 and hit the 2005 Volkswagen Passat that Sharf was driving; a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu that Cheryl Smith Hazelwood, 63, of Land O’ Lakes was driving; a 2016 Lexus ES350 that George Frank Cerwin, 67, of Palm Harbor, was driving; a 2018 Toyota Tundra that Robin Wayne McCauley, 36, of Hudson, was driving; a 2009 Volvo C90 that Marggi Luz Bracamonte, 54, of Palm Harbor was driving; and a 1991 Ford F150 driven by John Jacob Rathmell, 47, of Largo. Those vehicles were either moving or stopped at the traffic signal for southbound U.,S. 19 at Nebraska Avenue, troopers said.
The crash closed the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 until about 2 p.m.
Photos courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Florida Highway Patrol | U.S. 19 Crash | Nebraska Avenue Crash | PSTA | Bus Crash | Tampabay News
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