TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Consuelo Mackey-Perry had just opened her salon Wednesday and was taking care of customers when her day took an unusual turn. She heard a crash and then squealing tires.
“We heard the impact, but we didn’t actually see it,” Mackey-Perry said. “But we saw the bus coming and the way it was coming it was like it was coming in here.”
Mackey-Perry owns the TET Salon on Central just to the west of 16th street. The sounds of the screeching tires came from an accident at the intersection of Central Avenue and 16th Street North shortly after 10 a.m.
Surveillance video from the salon obtained by News Channel 8 captured the entire ordeal.
According to authorities, a preliminary investigation found the Chrysler drove through a red traffic signal as the trolley crossed Central Avenue with a green light. Moments later, the trolley t-boned the left side of the Pacifica.
Destiny Garcia had just walked out of the salon at that very moment.
“I can’t believe I was standing right there where the trolly is sitting now,” Garcia said. “All of a sudden, I see out of the corner of my eye a lady run the red light and then she gets hit by this trolley.”
Garcia said the trolley was headed right for her. The only thing that stood in the way were three parked cars.
“All three cars got hit by the trolley,” Garcia said. “If those cars weren’t there, I definitely would have gotten run over. And, the trolley would have ended up coming through this door.”
St. Petersburg Police traffic investigators closed the intersection for hours while they conducted an investigation.
Authorities said they do not believe speed nor impairment were factors in the crash.
Mackey-Perry said she believes had the trolley not been stopped by those parked cars, there could have been many more injuries.
“Just the fact of thinking that bus was coming head-on. I was worried about it coming in here,” Mackey-Perry said. “That was a big concern.”
Police said the driver of the van, a woman in her 70s, was taken to an area hospital to be treated for her injuries. She is in critical, but stable condition, authorities added.