Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

One dead, three hurt in wrong-way crash on I-275 near downtown Tampa

TAMPA — A driver going the wrong way on Interstate 275 in downtown Tampa early Thursday collided head-on with another car, killing its driver, state troopers said.

The wrong-way driver, Christopher Ponce, 22, of Tampa, was seriously injured and taken to Tampa General Hospital.

The crash instantly killed William Brooks Angel, 20, of Wesley Chapel, and seriously injured his two passengers, Robert Patrick Newberry, 22, of Lutz, and Jay Davis, 20, of Wesley Chapel, authorities said.

It remained unclear why Ponce was driving the wrong way. None of the people involved in the crash was wearing a seat belt.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash happened around 2:45 a.m. Thursday in the northbound lanes of I-275 near the interchange with Interstate 4.

Angel and his passengers were headed north — going the right direction — in a 2000 Ford Mustang. Ponce was headed south in a 2012 Ford Fusion, troopers said.

Both cars were in the center lane when they collided.

Angel was killed on impact. Newberry and Davis were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital.

In the hours that followed, all northbound lanes I-275 were closed near the downtown exit as troopers investigated, causing severe traffic backups from St. Petersburg and into Tampa. The road reopened around 6:45 a.m.

Angel was a 2010 graduate of Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel, according to his Facebook page.

"William was a great kid," said Wiregrass Ranch principal Ray Bonti. He remembered him as an honors student and an officer in the ping pong club.

"This is very sad news for us at Wiregrass Ranch. Our hearts go out to William's family."

The patrol has not filed any charges in the crash, which remained under investigation.

Records show that Ponce has been accused of dangerous driving several times since 2006 — including six speeding violations, one seat belt violation and one careless driving citation.

His license was suspended in 2009 following a driving under the influence charge in Leon County, where officers said his blood alcohol level was .147, driving records show. The state considers a driver impaired when the blood alcohol reaches .08.

Authorities suspended Ponce's license again in 2011 because of failure to pay restitution from an earlier court case.

Records show his driver's license was reinstated in April.

News researcher John Martin and staff writer Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report.

One dead, three hurt in wrong-way crash on I-275 near downtown Tampa 07/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: The numbers behind the opioid crisis

    Editorials

    Drug overdoses are now the leading killer of Americans under 50, driven largely by the opioid epidemic that is ravaging every state — and Florida is no exception. A report issued this week shows more than 1.27 million hospital emergency room visits or inpatient visits linked to opioids in 2014, with emergency room …

    Gov. Rick Scott declared a drug overdose state of emergency last month, unlocking $27 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services.
  2. Trump says he didn't tape his conversations with Comey

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he "did not make" and doesn't have any recordings of his private conversations with James Comey — his fired FBI director.

    President Donald Trump speaks during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]
  3. St. Pete council advances limits on PAC money in city elections

    Blogs

    In front of large group of red-shirted supporters, the St. Petersburg City Council gave initial approval Thursday to an ordinance limiting campaign contributions to $5,000 from political action committees.

    A large crowd gathered Thursday to support passage of a controversial measure to limit campaign spending in city elections
  4. Bill Nelson on GOP health care bill: 'Now we know why they tried to keep this secret'

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson lashed out at the GOP health care plan released Thursday, deeming it "just as bad as the House bill."

    Reporters on Thursday wait for Republican senators to leave a briefing on the health care bill
  5. Video: Loggerhead sea turtle found in Islamorada resident's pool

    Wildlife

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on Monday, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys.

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on June 22, 2017, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys. [Photo from video]