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USF student injured when pickup careens into Tampa bus stop

Police say a 72-year-old woman lost control of this pickup at W Columbus Drive and N Himes Avenue Monday in Tampa.

JUSTIN GEORGE | Times

Police say a 72-year-old woman lost control of this pickup at W Columbus Drive and N Himes Avenue Monday in Tampa.

TAMPA — It would have been her first day at a new school.

But Joy Conley's day was cut short when a 72-year-old woman driving a pickup lost control Monday and crashed into a bus stop shelter, injuring the University of South Florida student as she waited for a ride, police said.

Police say Conley, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, was at a HART bus shelter at N Himes Avenue and W Columbus Drive, when a 2001 Ford Ranger plowed into her.

Conley was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, Tampa police spokeswoman Darla Portman said.

Monday evening, Conley's family traveled to Tampa to be by her side.

"We never expect to hear anything like this ever," said Nelson Conley, the victim's father.

She had just transferred to USF after earning an associate's degree from Broward County Community College. She is a pre-elementary education major, USF officials said.

"She's like a hippie type of girl," said Nelson Conley. "She's a carefree girl."

Her father said she dreams of being an educator like her older sister.

Hospital officials called Conley about his daughter's injuries Monday afternoon, and told him one of her legs was broken in two places, he said.

The crash happened at about 12:30 p.m. as Mirta D. Gonzalez of 3011 W Cherry St. was traveling west on Columbus and turned right onto Himes. Police say she lost control of her truck and slammed into Conley.

Gonzalez was cited with careless driving.

Classes began at USF on Monday for the fall semester.

Staff writer Justin George contributed to this report.

USF student injured when pickup careens into Tampa bus stop 08/24/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 24, 2009 10:11pm]
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