TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities say a 29-year-old woman was charged after she lost control of her vehicle and touched off a chain reaction of crashes, leading to the deaths of two adults and one child.
Tampa police said Friday that Amber Nicole Perera crashed on Thursday afternoon on Tampa’s Selmon Expressway.
Investigators say Perera’s car veered into a grass median, causing another vehicle to cross the median and go into oncoming traffic. It then struck two other vehicles and burst into flames, killing three people.
Police say Perera attempted to leave the scene, but was caught a short time later. She was taken to the hospital for a blood draw to measure her blood alcohol content.
She faces multiple charges including DUI, manslaughter and tampering with evidence because police say when they administered DUI blood tests, Perera tried to remove her vials of blood and hide them in her underwear. A lawyer isn’t listed on jail records.
A Tampa-area man who witnessed the aftermath of the crash helped remove the driver from the burning car. The driver and two occupants — one a child — all died at the scene.
During a news conference Friday, the man said the horrific crash, and knowing that there was a child in the back seat of the burning car kept him awake at night.
“I didn’t sleep too good last night. Thinking what we would have done if we knew there was a child in the backseat. If we were able to save that child, what kind of life for that child would it be to know that both parents had died,” said 48-year-old Don Rogers of Seffner, Florida. “I keep wishing we could have done more. Wishing I hadn’t stopped at the red light, I could have been there 45 seconds earlier. I don’t want to be labeled a hero. I did what I think I should.”