Deadly Multi-Car Crash Leaves Five Dead
An overnight crash has the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol investigating the cause of the fatal incident.
Officials say the crash occurred on Coconut Palm Drive and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard resulting in the deaths of three adults and two children.
The ages of the victims range from 9-years-old to 39-years-old.
Here’s what happened: FHP says Pable Cortes, III, 22, of Brandon was driving a VW Gold with Jolie Bartolome, 19, from Lithia in the passenger seat. They were traveling westbound on MLK approaching Coconut Palm Drive.
Three other vehicles were traveling eastbound on MLK approaching Coconut Palm Drive at the same time.
Cortes lost control of his vehicle and crossed over the median and collide nearly head-on with a Toyota Sienna, which was being driven by Marianela Murillo, causing the vehicle to catch on fire.
After that collision the VW Golf then rotated and collided with a Toyota Scion, driven by Carla Marie Wyman. The debris from these collisions hit a BMW 3 series being driven by Jamie Javier Ramirez Reye.
In the nearly head-on collision being driven by Marianela Murillo, 39, of Tampa there were four passengers in the car. John Bernal, 9, Isabelle Bernal, 10, Luisa Louisa, 15, and Lina Bernal, 18. Marianela Murillo died at the scene of the crash and John and Isabelle Bernal died at Tampa General Hospital.
Pablo Cortes, III and Jolie Bartolome died at the scene of the crash as well.
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) October 27, 2016
A witness to the crash, Gregory Hawkins, was driving down MLK when he saw the two cars speed past him. He assisted with pulling children out of one of the cars involved in the crash.
“I pulled her out, then I sat her on the sidewalk. I went back, there was a young kid. I pulled him out, sat him on the sidewalk. I went back there was a heavy set female, tried to get her out. The young gentleman wasn’t getting no breath at all really,” said Hawkins to ABC Action News.
Neighbors in the area said a lot of street racing occurs, but FHP said there is no evidence pointing to any street racing at this time.
All lanes of MLK were closed and reopened just before 4:30 a.m. on Thursday.
The crash is still under investigation.