ODESSA — A cement mixer with failing brakes slammed into three cars on State Road 54 on Wednesday, authorities said, sending those three drivers to the hospital and shutting the road to traffic for hours.
The crash happened about 11:47 a.m., as a cement truck driving south on the Suncoast Parkway exited onto SR 54, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The driver, Jose Felix Fonseca-Reina, 39, of Port Richey, told troopers his brakes failed and he was unable to stop the 1999 Oshkosh cement truck at the bottom of the exit ramp.
The truck, owned by A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping in Odessa, kept going south, cutting through the westbound lanes and over a grassy median before hitting three cars stopped in the eastbound lanes, FHP said.
Those three cars were arranged parallel to each other: a 1995 Honda Accord in the inside lane driven by Johanna Cronin, 50, of Land O'Lakes; a 2012 Volvo XC60 sport utility vehicle in the center lane driven by Maria Gelyon, 37, also of Land O'Lakes; and a 2013 Toyota Scion two door in the outside lane driven by Ashley Campbell, 27, of Dade City.
Cronin was taken to Tampa General Hospital. Gelyon and Campbell were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. FHP said all three were in serious but stable condition.
Fonseca-Reina received minor injuries and was treated at the scene. FHP is investigating to determine whether to issue a citation.
Rob Brue, owner of A-Plus Masonry & Concrete Pumping, said he had only heard basic details of the crash and was headed to the scene Wednesday afternoon to find out more.
"I'm very distraught about this situation," he said. "I know it's a mechanical failure, but my heart goes out to these families."