TAMPA — A fatal, single-car crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway provided a tragic lesson in driving safety.
Tampa police say a 19-year-old was driving west near Rocky Point around 6:30 p.m. Sunday when she received a text message and looked down at her phone. Distracted, she veered into a concrete barrier and the car rolled. Her 2-year-old daughter was strapped in her car seat but the seat apparently wasn’t secured properly. The child, attached to the seat, was ejected from the car.
In another turn of events, a motorist who apparently came across the crash stopped, retrieved the child and drove her to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, more than 10 miles northwest of the scene.
The child was flown by medical helicopter from Mease Countryside back across Tampa Bay to St. Joseph’s Hospital on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Tampa. She is in serious condition with injuries that aren’t considered life threatening, police said.
The driver never should have removed the child from the scene, Tampa Police Department Spokeswoman Andrea Davis said. Police believe they have identified the woman and she is not facing charges, Davis said.
“You should always wait for emergency personnel or an ambulance to arrive so they can provide those injured with some life saving procedures or attention on the way to the hospital,” Davis said. “We were lucky in this particular case that the child had no neck or spine injuries, because moving a patient with those injuries can be very detrimental.”
Seat safety classes are available at St. Joseph’s Children’s Advocacy Center. Schedules are online at baycareevents.org.