PSTA bus involved in 8-vehicle crash in Palm Harbor

Pinellas County

A Pinellas County transit bus driver remains in critical condition after he suffered a medical emergency while driving in Palm Harbor Thursday afternoon. 

George Cerwin said he imagined the worst when he saw the bus coming straight toward him.

“I feel very lucky. A foot over, he would’ve caught me right in the front with my air bags imploding. I would’ve taken a hit,” said Cerwin.

The driver had a medical episode as he approached the intersection of Highway U.S. 19 and Nebraska Avenue.

“You don’t push in the intersection, turn it around, bounce off the median, slide by me and hit four more cars going 25 mph,” said Cerwin.

Troopers sad he slammed into eight vehicles.

The driver in a Volkswagen was sandwiched in between.

“He crawled out. Walking around like I am right now refusing going to the hospital. You see the car, unbelievable,” Cerwin said.

Those the bus driver hit noticed him slumped over the wheel.

Two Pinellas County deputies also stepped to give aid.

One of them was on hs way to work.

“A couple of us jumped out of our vehicle, pried the door open. We shut down the bus and got him out of his seat belt and got him on the floor and some deputies were able to give him CPR,” said John Rathmell.

“He had no pulse, so I started screaming, ‘get him on the ground so I can perform CPR immediately,'” said good Samaritan Crystal Moore.

Moore is CPR certified, but this was the first time she ever had to put her training into practice.

“I just kept going and going and I said to myself, ‘Lord just give this man some breaths, please.’ And fortunately, I kept going and two officers came behind me and said, ‘I can take over for you.'”

Deputies Timothy McTaggart and Kevin Carey didn’t miss a beat.

“We worked as a tandem team to try and revive the individual,” said Deputy McTaggart.

It’s Moore they credit, though.

“She had just jumped right in and started doing chest compressions so I mean, it was a huge help.” 

The crash shut down U.S.19 for hours.

Luckily, there were only a few injuries reported.

“This could have been so much worse. No one got seriously hurt, fortunately,” said Cerwin.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

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