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6 injured during 2-car collision

Six people, including three children, were injured in a two-car crash at Belleair and Belcher roads Friday afternoon.

The crash occurred about 1:35 p.m. when Frederick J. Smith, 89, of Largo turned his Mercury Grand Marquis left from southbound Belcher Road in an attempt to get onto Belleair Road. He turned in front of a Toyota driven by Laura Ortiz, 71, of Clearwater, police said.

Ortiz had her daughter, Laura Salcero, in her front seat. Three boys who are Ortiz's grandchildren and Salcero's nephews were in the back seat, police said.

Two of the boys, 7-year-old Eric Rivero and 6-year-old Tyler Salcero, were taken by ambulance to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

The oldest boy, 10-year-old Allen Rivero, was more seriously injured and was taken by helicopter to Bayfront. He appeared to suffer blunt trauma to his abdomen, said Largo Fire Department District Chief Earl "Butch" Milne.

Laura Salcero also was taken by helicopter to Bayfront after emergency workers found she had low blood pressure and seemed lethargic, Milne said.

Smith's vehicle had struck the passenger-side front corner of the car, which was closest to Laura Salcero.

"Our concern is she took the majority of the impact on her side and her blood pressure was real low at the scene," Milne said.

Smith and his wife, whose name was not available, were taken to Morton Plant Hospital with minor injuries, Milne said. Ortiz was not injured.

Bayfront officials could not release the conditions of the children because their parents asked that no information be given out. Laura Salcero was listed in fair condition at the hospital Friday evening.

Police were still investigating the cause of the crash and no charges had been filed. It appeared Smith made an illegal turn in front of Ortiz's vehicle, police Sgt. Doug Griffith said.

Milne said an off-duty emergency medical technician and employees from Morton Plant Hospital helped comfort the patients before the fire department arrived. The children's father arrived on the scene after everyone had already gone to the hospital, so a Morton Plant employee gave him a ride to Bayfront, Milne said.

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