Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Van carrying cheerleaders from St. Petersburg flips on I-275 in Tampa

A rear tire blew on a van Sunday on Interstate 275 in Tampa carrying children from the Childs Park Rattlers, a youth football and cheerleading organization in St. Petersburg.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

A rear tire blew on a van Sunday on Interstate 275 in Tampa carrying children from the Childs Park Rattlers, a youth football and cheerleading organization in St. Petersburg.

TAMPA — Ruthie Maynard-Jones was driving behind a passenger van filled with children from a youth sports league on Interstate 275 Sunday when a rear tire blew on the van.

She watched in horror as the driver lost control of the van, sending it crashing into a concrete barrier and then flipping on its side.

"I just prayed to God that it was okay," said Maynard-Jones, vice president of the program that the girls belong to. "I was just thinking of the babies."

The van carried at least 14 people, mostly children, from the Childs Park Rattlers, a youth football and cheerleading organization in St. Petersburg.

The van was part of a caravan carrying parents, coaches and siblings who had accompanied the cheerleaders to a cheering competition in Lakeland that morning.

About 1 p.m., just south of the Lois Avenue exit, the tire blew and the Ford E-250 van hit the concrete wall, causing the van to flip on the passenger side, shattering glass and sending jackets and other personal belongings flying.

Parents and coaches pulled their cars over on the side of the interstate and rushed to the van to assist the screaming and injured girls, whose ages ranged from 8 to 14 years, Maynard-Jones said.

Most of the parents were too shaken up to talk and left for either St. Joseph's Hospital or Tampa General Hospital, where the passengers were taken.

One adult and 13 children were transported to the hospitals, Tampa police said. The injuries ranged from mild to moderate, said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Wells. It was unclear whether the passengers were wearing seat belts.

"They're doing okay," Maynard-Jones said later. "We're just very thankful."

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or nguyen@sptimes.com.

Van carrying cheerleaders from St. Petersburg flips on I-275 in Tampa 11/22/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 22, 2009 10:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Necropsy confirms drowning as Snooty the manatee's cause of death

    Human Interest

    BRADENTON— The South Florida museum aquarium will re-open Tuesday and grief counselors will be available after the untimely death of beloved manatee Snooty.

    Snooty, the Manatee County mascot, turned 60 in 2008. Hundreds of people came to the Parker Manatee Aquarium to see Snooty at his birthday party. He was the first manatee to have a recorded birth date on July 21, 1948.

 [Times (2008)]
  2. Charlie Gard's parents withdraw legal action over their sick baby

    World

    LONDON — The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard dropped their legal bid Monday to send him to the United States for experimental treatment after new medical tests showed it could no longer help.

    Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of critically ill infant Charlie Gard, arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ahead of the latest High Court hearing in London Monday July 24, 2017. They  returned  to the court for the latest stage in their effort to seek permission to take the child to the United States for medical treatment. Britain's High Court is considering new evidence in the case of Charlie Gard. The 11-month-old has a rare genetic condition, and his parents want to take him to America to receive an experimental treatment. [Jonathan Brady | PA via AP]
  3. Restaurant review: Food and beer pair nicely at the Eatery at Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA - Tampa Bay's craft beer scene is perennially in flux. New breweries open, others close or get scooped up by bigger breweries, some reinvent themselves so they can sell beer off site, and still others build on kitchens and add food to give enthusiasts another reason to sit tight.

    Pimento cheese with zucchini pickles, lavash and Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes crostini is on the menu.
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Orioles, seeking to halt a skid

    Blogs

    After being swept by the Rangers, and losing four straight, the Rays are looking to get back on track tonight against the Orioles, and they have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.

     Blake Snell will be on the mound tonight.
  5. This 'SNL' writer is cracking up Twitter with his replies to President Donald Trump's tweets

    National

    Josh Patten is a writer for Saturday Night Live. Earlier this month, he began responding to President Donald Trump's tweets as if they were private texts to Patten.