BRADENTON — Three people are dead and five others have been hospitalized after a woman backed her SUV into a group of people Sunday outside a Florida clubhouse, authorities said.
The crash happened outside the Sugar Creek Country Club at 11:20 a.m. in Bradenton, about 45 miles south of Tampa. Residents had gathered for church services inside the building, which is located in a mobile home community, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Gregory Bueno said.
The driver of a 2009 Chevrolet SUV backed her car in the parking lot, striking at least eight people. One person was pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died after being transported to a nearby hospital. Five more remained hospitalized Sunday afternoon. Their conditions were not immediately known.
The vehicle came to a rest in a lake adjacent to the clubhouse, Bueno said. The driver was not injured. Her identity has not been released.
"It's a tragic, tragic situation," Bueno said. "Every time something like this occurs it breaks your heart."
Sugar Creek Estates resident and retired EMT Muriel Watts described the aftermath of the crash to the Bradenton Herald (http://bit.ly/1cKGpvj ) as "a horrible sight."
She said she approached one elderly woman who was lying face down on the ground but could not find a pulse.
"I knew she was gone," Watts said.
She then helped a man who had "tire tracks from his ankles to armpits."
The other victims had bloody heads and knees, she said.
Bueno said troopers are still investigating why the driver's car went into reverse.