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Crash sends three people to hospital

A dump truck driver avoids an Isuzu pickup, but collides head-on with a Ford pickup, whose driver is injured.

A man was injured Tuesday afternoon when his pickup was hit head-on by a dump truck that veered into oncoming traffic on State Road 39 in south Pasco County.

The driver of the dump truck, Theo James, told the Times that he was traveling north when a black, early model Isuzu pickup tried to pass him on the rain-slickened bridge over the Hillsborough River. But there was little room for the pass because a late-model, green Ford F-150 pickup was approaching the bridge in the southbound lane, James said.

As the Isuzu cut in front of his dump truck, it lost control and slid sideways across the southbound lane, coming to rest against the steel guardrail, James said.

James said he steered into the southbound lane to avoid the Isuzu and struck the oncoming pickup. James was not injured.

"It was wrong the way they pulled out in front of me," he said, shaking his head. "You couldn't do anything but hold on."

As of late Tuesday, the Florida Highway Patrol had not released the names of the two passengers of the Isuzu or the driver of the Ford pickup, who was traveling alone.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene of crash, which was reported at 2:41 p.m., and worked to free the driver of the Ford from the wreckage. As rescue workers pulled the man from his crumpled pickup some 45 minutes later, he was bleeding heavily, but conscious and able to sit up.

He was flown by helicopter to an area hospital, but his condition was not available Tuesday night.

The passengers in the Isuzu also were taken to the hospital. Their conditions were not available.

The trooper investigating the crash did not return calls Tuesday.