Detectives Investigating a Triple Traffic Fatality
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**Update to Traffic Fatality
WHEN: 04/14/2013, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Columbus Drive and Matanzas Avenue
VICTIM (Transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital): Kenneth Edward Crouse, 07/21/1971, W/M, 2914 West Clifton Street, Tampa
Detectives have not been able to interview the surviving victim of the crash and they have not been able to 100% positively identify the additional occupants of the vehicle due to the condition of the bodies. Last night, it was believed there were three males and one female. After the Medical Examiner took possession of the bodies, it was determined there were two males and two females inside the vehicle.
Approximately one minute prior to the crash, the suspects were involved in a beer theft at the 7-11 located at Himes and Columbus. This was not a robbery, it was a theft.
The suspect vehicle took off eastbound on Columbus at what witnesses described as a high rate of speed. As it neared Matanzas Avenue, it attempted to maneuver around a slower moving vehicle ahead of it and the driver lost control, sending the vehicle into a concrete wall. The vehicle struck a concrete retention wall and then overturned. Witnesses advised that at least one person was thrown from the vehicle. None of the occupants were wearing seat belts.
Tampa Fire Rescue responded and transported a female who was ejected and a male passenger (Crouse) to St. Joseph's Hospital. Another male and female were deceased inside the vehicle. The female who was transported to the hospital died of her injuries. She is believed to be the driver of the vehicle according to the witness at the 7-11. Crouse has critical injuries but they are believed to be non life threatening.
At approximately 8 p.m., A Jeep SUV with four passengers inside was traveling eastbound on Columbus Drive at a high rate of speed. A Toyota truck was traveling in front of the Jeep. The driver saw the Jeep recklessly approaching from behind and quickly got out of the Jeep's path. The Jeep hit a concrete wall at Columbus Drive and Matanzas Avenue. It flipped and rolled several feet into the westbound lane on Columbus Drive. Two males and a female occupant were pronounced deceased at the scene. A fourth occupant was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital. His condition is unknown at this time. The driver of the Toyota was not hit or injured. The names will be released tomorrow morning pending next of kin notification.
Through the preliminary investigation detectives have determined that the occupants of the Jeep had just left the 7-11 at 3434 West Columbus Drive where they had just stolen beer.
Columbus Drive from MacDill Avenue to Himes Avenue will be closed for an undetermined amount of time while detectives reconstruct the crash.