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Driver dies after St. Petersburg crash in which witnesses say he ran red light

ST. PETERSBURG — The driver who witnesses said ran a red light in a Monday night crash has died, police said.

Javon L. Oliver, 20, was driving a silver 2008 Ford Escape east on Ninth Avenue S when it was struck by a Chevrolet pickup at 10:48 p.m. at the intersection with 16th Street S.

Malcolm L. Willis, 20, who was in the passenger seat, was in critical condition Monday night.

Both Willis and Oliver were trapped in the vehicle before they were extracted and taken to Bayfront Medical Center.

A passenger in the rear seat, Daniel E. Toler, 20, was launched from the Escape and landed on the north curb line of Ninth Avenue, police said. Toler was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in serious condition.

Police Lt. Markus Hughes said witnesses reported that the Ford Escape was speeding and ran a red light when the vehicles collided.

The impact sent the Escape into the air and then into a light pole, folding the vehicle in half. The vehicle rotated clockwise around the pole before coming to rest.

The pickup driver, Leroy Williams Jr., 48, was not seriously injured and was walking around at the scene.

Williams said he likely avoided injury because he was wearing his seat belt.

"I'm lucky," Williams said. "I had a seat belt on."

Police are investigating whether alcohol was involved in the crash.

Public records show that Oliver does not possess a Florida driver's license.

Times news researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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Driver dies after St. Petersburg crash in which witnesses say he ran red light 08/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 4:30pm]
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