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String of Tampa Wrong-Way Accidents Remind Drivers to Stay Alert

By Saunders Law Group on October 17, 2014

Tampa has recently been afflicted with a string of serious, sometimes fatal, car accidents caused by going the wrong way on divided highways. Most of these incidents involve alcohol, according to The Tampa Tribune. This past Saturday, a Tampa Police Department officer became one of the non-fatal victims of a wrong-way crash.

Officer Natasha Stanek was hit by a driver careening down the wrong side of the road just before 4 a.m. Sunday. Officer Stanek had just passed through a green light at the Armenia Avenue intersection on the ramp to I-275 Southbound. She noticed another car stopped for the red light. Then, she noticed some headlights coming towards her at a high rate of speed. That driver slammed into the side of her 2013 Dodge Charger patrol vehicle, pushing it over the curb.

Officer Stanek’s side air bag deployed and, as a result, she had to exit the vehicle through the passenger’s side door. Luckily, other than some minor soreness, Officer Stanek appears to be just fine. Police have not yet charged the driver, Hillary Whittle, with any offense. A blood test was performed at the hospital to determine whether Ms. Whittle was impaired.

The number of wrong-way wrecks in Tampa has been so alarming that the Florida Department of Transportation has elected to erect signs on some interstate off-ramps with flashing lights to alert wrong-way drivers that they need to turn around.

Other than alcohol, what could possibly cause a driver to go the wrong way on a one-way street? Officer Stanek offered that when she has stopped drivers driving the wrong way on city streets, the drivers inform her that their GPS told the drivers to go the (wrong) direction they were headed. It seems that where impairment isn’t the issue, lack of attention to surroundings or too much reliance on GPS technology may contribute to these poor decisions.

  1. When you are driving, please remember:
  2. Never, ever drive while impaired
  3. Pay attention to all signage and lights
  4. Pay attention to the surrounding traffic
  5. Do not rely blindly on your GPS device
  6. Wear corrective lenses if necessary
  7. Do not speed
  8. Drive more carefully in inclement weather
  9. Wear your seatbelt

If you are involved in the unfortunate situation of being struck by another driver in an automobile crash and suffered injuries as a result of same, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. (If a loved one perished as a result of a car crash where another vehicle struck your loved one’s vehicle, you also may be entitled to compensation). Call Saunders Law Group today to discuss your case and determine whether you may be entitled to any compensation.

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