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One dead in Hillsborough after SUV blows tire, flips onto median on I-4

The scene after a Chevrolet SUV blew a tire and then flipped, ejecting two passengers and killing one. The crash happened on Interstate-4 in Hillsborough County on Saturday, April 20, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
The scene after a Chevrolet SUV blew a tire and then flipped, ejecting two passengers and killing one. The crash happened on Interstate-4 in Hillsborough County on Saturday, April 20, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
Published Apr. 22, 2019

A 31-year-old man is dead after a tire blowout caused a sport utility vehicle to flip on the Interstate 4 median Saturday evening.

At about 6 p.m., Kilbert Medina Rijos, the driver of a Chevrolet SUV, was headed westbound on I-4, according to a news release from the Florida Highway Patrol. Inside the car were Rijos and passengers Jennifer Rodriguez, 35; Elliot Santana, 13, and one-year-old Mia Medina — all from Tampa.

Just west of Branch Forbes Road, the SUV blew a tire, causing Rijos to lose control of the car. The SUV careened into the median and flipped onto its roof, ejecting both Rijos and Rodriguez. The two adults were not wearing seat belts, FHP said in the release.

Rijos died at the scene.

Rodriguez, Santana and Medina were all taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Rodriguez suffered serious injuries; the children suffered minor injuries, the release said.

Contact Kirby Wilson at kwilson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8793. Follow @kirbywtweets.

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