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Treasure Island victim drove wrong way on Central Ave.

ST. PETERSBURG — A 69-year-old Treasure Island woman was killed after she drove the wrong way on Central Avenue, ran a red light and rammed a sport utility vehicle Monday, authorities said.

It happened at 1:45 p.m. The driver of the wayward car, Loretta Upton Bissell, was westbound on Central when, for unknown reasons, she swerved over a raised median and into the eastbound lane a block west of Pasadena Avenue N, said St. Petersburg police Officer Scott Pierce.

Bissell's SUV crashed into the right front of a 2009 Jeep SUV that was northbound on Pasadena. Victor Edwards, 55, was driving that vehicle, and Kathleen Bourrie, 59, was a passenger. Both are from Pinellas Park, according to a traffic incident report.

Five witnesses told police that Bissell, driving a 2003 Toyota SUV, ran a red light at Pasadena Avenue, the report stated. Pierce said Bissell, who was coming from her home, was not speeding.

The Jeep ended up in the parking lot of Bob's Carpet Mart on the southeast corner of the intersection, police said. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Lt. Joel Granata said both vehicles had to be sawed open to remove the victims. They were taken out of the mangled automobiles within 25 minutes and taken to Bayfront Medical Center as trauma alert patients, Granata said.

At 2:58 p.m., Bissell was pronounced dead at Bayfront, police said. The injuries to Edwards and Bourrie were not considered life threatening, police said.

The crash remains under investigation, which will include a toxicology report to determine if alcohol was a factor, police said.

Treasure Island victim drove wrong way on Central Ave. 03/15/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:57am]
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