Two people were killed and three were injured when their car spun out of control on Interstate 275 on Sunday, throwing a man and a woman from the car and over an overpass railing. The man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, fell on a concrete embankment on the southern end of the overpass, which is near 13th Avenue N.
The woman fell from the overpass about 35 feet to the ground near the its northern end. Her body wasn't discovered for about a half-hour because she apparently slid under a nearby flatbed truck, police said.
The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Killed were Susan Lynn DeCrane, 27, from Illinois, and William Edward Glassen, 20, of Lutz. The driver, Scott Schadt, 22, of Tampa, and two other passengers, Steven Schadt, 29, the driver's brother, and Kathy Reynolds, 27, of Illinois, were being treated at Bayfront Medical Center on Sunday.
Reynolds and Scott Schadt also were thrown from the vehicle. No one in the car was wearing a seat belt.
Police and witnesses said the northbound car, a 1982 Camaro with a T-top, appeared to be racing with a Trans Am, which apparently was trying to pass on the shoulder. Police interviewed the Trans Am's driver and passengers but did not release any information about them.
Trooper Steven C. Hough said the Camaro was traveling at a high speed when it spun out of control, hit the guardrail and flipped. The investigation was continuing late Sunday.
"It was horrible," said Whitney Charleton of Tampa, who saw the accident as she was driving south. "I saw it hit, and I saw the bodies fly."
As she waited to talk to police, Charleton clutched a shoe, towel, shirt and watch she had picked up from the roadway. Ms. Reynolds, who was a passenger in the Camaro, gave Charleton a phone number and asked her to call her husband in Illinois, Charleton said.
Paul Blankenship of Gainesville said he was about five cars behind the Camaro. "It hit some loose stuff on the edge of the bridge and just slid," he said. "One was trying to pass on the shoulder."
The car briefly hung over the rail of the overpass, he said. The car came to rest in the center lane, facing south. No other cars were damaged.
Keith Trowbridge was returning to his St. Petersburg home from a family outing at Fort De Soto Park when he saw the accident. Traffic was running at about 60 mph, he said. A few seconds earlier, he had checked his rearview mirror and seen nothing in the inside lane.
Then his wife, Liz, screamed.
Trowbridge heard the Camaro hit the guardrail and turned around to see it spinning just behind him on his left.
"The car was standing up spinning, and bodies were going over the rail," he said.
He stopped and ran back to the accident. He saw a man in the back seat who looked conscious, a woman sitting up nearby and another person sitting up a little farther away.
Trowbridge found Glassen lying on the concrete embankment below the overpass. He didn't see anyone else.
"I wanted to stay with that guy. He was alive. I was trying to get a pulse," Trowbridge said. "His pulse was real weak. His eyes opened and for a minute he tried to say something."
Then he lost the pulse and was trying to decide whether he should try to turn the man over. "I didn't know whether I should or not," he said. The paramedics arrived a few moments later "not even a minute after I lost his pulse."
A few minutes after police arrived, they found Ms. DeCrane's body under a flatbed truck below the overpass. It was parked near the railroad tracks that run next to Carroll's Building Materials.
Trowbridge was visibly shaken by the accident. Even after paramedics pronounced the man he had tried to help dead, Trowbridge sat holding the man's hand.
"You'd think people would drive a little more careful," he said later. "Tell people to wear seat belts. I know I'll wear a seat belt from now on. I never wore one before. I wasn't a believer."