Pinellas County

Wrong-way detection cameras coming to Howard Frankland Bridge

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Special cameras to detect wrong-way drivers are coming to the Howard Frankland Bridge.

The Florida Department of Transportation announced it will install the cameras within a few weeks as part of a pilot test. 

The move comes after two horrific wrong-way crashes on the bridge.

On the morning of Oct. 19, 46-year-old Renard Antonio McGriff of Pinellas Park was driving in the southbound direction of the northbound lanes when he crashed head-on into a van driven by Mark Joseph Reale, 44, of St. Petersburg. McGriff died at the scene. Reale was critically injured.

On the morning of Nov. 1,   Andy Cuff Jr. of St. Petersburg was driving southbound in the northbound lanes and crashed into a car driven by Andrea Rusch, 24, of Tampa. Rusch was critically injured. Cuff was treated at a local hospital and arrested for DUI after he was released.

In both crashes, the wrong-way drivers were traveling in the correct lanes and then made U-turns and began driving in the wrong direction.

A FDOT spokesperson says the pilot system it will install on the Howard Frankland Bridge can detect a car going the wrong way and immediately alert the Traffic Management Center (TMC). A Florida Highway Patrol trooper can be dispatched right away.

FDOT says a majority of wrong-way incidents are DUI related and authorities need  the help of the public to make responsible decisions.

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