Officials warn drivers after Tampa Bay area distracted driving accidents

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Police are warning drivers after multiple distracted driving incidents in the Tampa Bay area.

On Sunday a 2-year-old was critically inured in a crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater. Police say two other patients were taken to Tampa General Hospital. In addition, two patients were taken to Mease Countryside Hospital because of the crash.

Police said the four-vehicle accident was caused when 23-year-old Julie Gough took her eyes off the road and didn’t see cars stopping at a red light. Gough plowed into another car, touching off a chain-reaction crash that required people to be extricated from vehicles, police said.

Rob Shaw with the Clearwater Police Department explained how easy it is for a distracted driving accident to happen.

“When you’re driving on any road, be it a highway as 55 miles per hour or 50 miles per hour, or even 30 miles per hour, you take your eyes off the road for one second and that can spell disaster,” Shaw said.

It also happened Thursday evening in Tampa. An 18-year-old man died in a one-vehicle crash on Village Terrace Drive. Hillsborough County deputies say a cell phone conversation was going on when the driver missed a curve and hit a tree.

Tampa injury attorney Dereck Capaz is frustrated with the ongoing problem of distracted drivers. He sees firsthand the carnage they leave behind.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of crashes that are occurring every year. Just last year alone, it was reported that over 45,000 crashes occurred,” Capaz said.

“People, they feel the need to constantly connect with family members, friends, with their work and it’s understandable, but pull over. Life is more important,” Capaz said. “Pull over. Life is too important.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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