ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg man and a 9-year-old girl were critically injured after a sport utility vehicle ran a red light and was struck by a county bus Thursday evening, police said.
The crash happened about 6:20 p.m. at 37th Street and Fifth Avenue N. The No. 7 PSTA bus was going north on 37th Street when it collided with the westbound 2006 Saturn SUV, police and fire officials said. When it was over, the bus was stopped against the side wall of a floral shop, and the car with five passengers on board was facing south in the floral shop's parking lot, its left side ripped open.
Mike P. Gawthrop, 40, and Destiny Hodges, 9, were taken to Bayfront Medical Center in critical condition, fire officials said. Three other children in the car, Jezmeralda Hodges, 11, Malik Hodges, 7, and Aaliyah Hodges, 6, were taken to All Children's Hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, officials said. It was not clear whether they were wearing seat belts.
Three people were on the bus, including the driver, Darlene Seay, 44, said PSTA spokesman Bob Lasher. One person on the bus was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital with minor injuries, he said.
St. Petersburg police traffic investigator Mike Jockers said Seay was stopped at a red light before going through the intersection on a green. Gawthrop ran a red light and drove into the path of the bus, Jockers said. The front of the bus struck both left side doors of the Saturn, he said.
"She (Seay) was trying to avoid the car, but there was no way she could," Lasher said. "We're just all keeping our fingers crossed for the people in the car."