A man driving the wrong way on I-275, just south of the I-4, exit struck another vehicle, killing the driver and hospitalizing his two passengers.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Christopher Ponce, 22, of Carrollwood was driving his black 2012 Ford Fusion south in the northbound lanes of I-275 just before 3 a.m. when he struck a black 2000 Ford Mustang driven by William Brooks Angel, 20, of Wesley Chapel.
Angel died on the scene, while his passengers, 22-year old Robert Patrick Newberry of Lutz and 20-year old Jay Davis of Wesley Chapel, were rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries. Ponce was taken to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries of his own. None of those involved were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, a highway patrol media release said.
An investigation into the accident, which closed down northbound I-275 until 6:45 this morning is ongoing, and charges are pending. Police have not yet determined if alcohol played any part in the crash and are still looking into how Ponce ended up on the wrong side of the interstate.
Pictures of the crash have appeared on the Bay News 9 website.
All northbound lanes have been reopened after hours of police diverting traffic to downtown off ramps and traffic being backed up to Howard Avenue.
Update: Christopher Ponce was arrested today (July 20) after being released from Tampa General Hospital at 3:30 PM. Taken to the Orient Road Jail, he was charged with DUI Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, 2 counts of Reckless Driving involving Serious Bodily Injury, and 2 counts of DUI with Serious Bodily Injury.