Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

Driver dead after losing consciousness in St. Pete intersection

ST. PETERSBURG — A driver died Tuesday after a "medical episode" caused her to slam into the back of another car.

Police said Karen Staszak, 50, of Largo stopped her 2009 Dodge Charger in the left turn lane of the intersection of 66th Street N and 18th Avenue N about 11 a.m. Staszak apparently suffered a medical episode that police said was heart-related and which left her unconscious at the wheel.

After she lost consciousness Staszak's foot slipped off the brake and pressed onto the gas pedal, police said, and the Charger accelerated into the back of Sharon Abbott's 2008 Chevrolet Impala.

Abbott, 69, of St. Petersburg turned left when the light changed to green and pulled off the road. But when her car was clear, police said, Staszak's vehicle accelerated out of the turn lane and into a wide left turn. She kept going until she had run off the road, through a fence, and into a dried up retention pond.

Staszak was transported to St. Petersburg General Hospital and transferred to Largo Medical Center, where she died about 5:40 p.m.

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