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18-year-old mother dies in collision

With their daughter safely strapped in a car seat, Jodie McDonald drove south on McMullen-Booth Road early Wednesday to take her fiance to work.

They did not make it.

For some reason, the 18-year-old woman lost control of her car. The 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass flipped, crossed the median into oncoming traffic and collided with another car.

McDonald, of 2240 Morningside Drive in Safety Harbor, was pronounced dead a short time later at Mease Countryside Hospital.

"It was an old car, but it was a good-running car," said her brother, Michael McDonald. "They're not sure if something went wrong with the steering or exactly what happened."

Neither McDonald's fiance, 19-year-old Marcus Latelers, nor the couple's 17-month-old daughter, Cassandra, were injured.

Michael McDonald said his sister graduated from Countryside High School last year and was working two jobs, one with an insurance company and another at a health care company. She planned to get married in June.

"She was a good person," he said. "She was just trying to take care of her child and her family."

Pinellas County sheriff's spokesman Cal Dennie said the accident happened about 6:30 a.m. near Fourth Street. McDonald was taking Latelers to work at a roofing company.

After the Oldsmobile veered into northbound traffic, the car collided with a 1997 Nissan Altima driven by Janet Willoughby, 33, of St. Petersburg. Dennie said Willoughby had a broken arm.

After the Nissan and Oldsmobile collided, the two cars were hit by a third car.

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