Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Interstate 75 crash claimed life of 17-year-old UF student on her way home to Pinellas Park

Aria Karina Curad Mallari had a lot to be happy about Friday afternoon as she sat behind the wheel of her Honda Civic in rush-hour traffic on Interstate 75.

The 17-year-old had just finished her first set of summer classes at the University of Florida, where she was getting a head start on a pre-med degree. At home in Pinellas Park, a celebration awaited as her mother and brother prepared a feast of barbecue and Filipino food. It was supposed to be a birthday party. On Wednesday, Mallari would have turned 18.

But something happened as she drove south on the interstate through Wesley Chapel.

At about 5:40 p.m., Mallari lost control of the car, veering onto the left shoulder, through the grassy median and into the northbound lanes, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The car split in two and caught fire as it collided with two other vehicles.

Mallari was seriously injured and flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. She died during the night.

Two others were injured. Kyle Eugene Mansfield, 25, of Hernando was taken to Florida Hospital Zephyrhills with serious injuries after Mallari's car collided with his Chevy pickup, troopers said. Christine Penner, 46, of Largo, was treated at the scene for minor injuries after her Ford Ranger was also struck.

The cause of the crash, which closed the northbound lanes of I-75 for several hours Friday night, remained under investigation Saturday.

John Mallari was barbecuing in front of his Pinellas Park home when he got the call. A few hours later he lost his sister, whom he called his best friend.

"She was the sweetest girl," he said. "We were always together whenever she was here."

Born in the Philippines, the siblings moved to the United States in 2004 with their mother, who relocated for a new job. Aria was 10 then. Over the years, John, now 23, watched as his sister grew into a studious young woman who set high goals for herself. An A-student, she had just recently graduated from Dixie Hollins High School. She wanted to become a doctor.

"She was the best sister I can ask for," he said. "I miss her."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

Interstate 75 crash claimed life of 17-year-old UF student on her way home to Pinellas Park 07/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 21, 2012 9:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Drug czar nominee Marino withdraws name amid report he weakened DEA

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the Pennsylvania congressman he chose to be the nation's drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job.

    U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., left, sponsored the law that weakened the DEA's enforcement abilities. Seen with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in 2015, Marino is nominated to be the nation's drug czar. [Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg]
  2. Photo of the Day for October 17, 2017 - Urban possums

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Roger Kimble of Tampa, FL.

  3. Exposé 'Champions Way' uses FSU to illustrate bad behavior in college programs

    College

    While the entire college football universe was focused on a sexual assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston during Florida State's 2013 national title run, another off-field scandal was playing out quietly.

     Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the game between Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.
  4. How a group of Florida tomato growers could help derail NAFTA

    Agriculture

    Tony DiMare, a third-generation Florida tomato grower, has spent two decades contending with cheap Mexican imports, watching his neighbors abandon crops in their fields and sell off their farms when they couldn't match the price of incoming produce.

    Workers fill a trailer with tomatoes as they harvest them in the fields of DiMare Farms in Florida City. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images(2013)]
  5. Pinellas deputies go door-to-door at dawn to arrest unlicensed contractors

    Crime

    Pinellas deputies began pounding on doors at 5 a.m. Tuesday, part of a widespread roundup of contractors accused of working without licences and workers compensation.

    Pinellas Sheriff deputies J. Short, left, and T. Festa, right, arrest suspect Randy Ronchi, center, in Largo early Tuesday, as part of a joint roundup of unlicensed contractors. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]