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Driver looking at GPS caused crash involving state trooper, Highway Patrol says

The Brandon woman set off a chain reaction that damaged four vehicles, sent a state trooper to the hospital and caused her car to overturn, the Highway Patrol said.
A Brandon woman struck the back of a Mustang GT, used as an unmarked Highway Patrol vehicle, and set off a chain reaction on the Gandy Bridge. The collision flipped her car, damaged four vehicles and sent a trooper to the hospital.
A Brandon woman struck the back of a Mustang GT, used as an unmarked Highway Patrol vehicle, and set off a chain reaction on the Gandy Bridge. The collision flipped her car, damaged four vehicles and sent a trooper to the hospital. [ Florida Highway Patrol ]
Published Nov. 30, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — A 49-year-old Brandon woman looked down to check GPS while driving and hit a car, setting off a chain reaction that damaged four vehicles, sent a state trooper to the hospital and caused her car to overturn, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

New details of the collision at 12:10 p.m. Sunday on the west end of the Gandy Boulevard Bridge were provided in a news release Monday from the Highway Patrol.

The Brandon woman, the trooper — a 37-year-old Pinellas Park man — and three people in another vehicle received minor injuries in the crash. The trooper underwent treatment at a hospital.

The Brandon woman was driving west across the Gandy Bridge and failed to notice three vehicles that were stopped ahead of her — a disabled sport utility vehicle straddling the shoulder and a travel lane, another car and a Mustang GT serving as an unmarked Highway Patrol vehicle.

She looked up from her GPS and spotted the vehicles, then swerved right but struck a rear corner of the Mustang, the Highway Patrol said. The impact caused the woman’s car to flip and pushed the other vehicles forward, knocking the Mustang into a trailer that was being towed behind the SUV.

The collision closed westbound lanes of Gandy Boulevard for about 90 minutes.

The Highway Patrol did not release the names of those involved in the crash because of its interpretation of Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution that was designed to protect crime victims but that deprives the public of information long available under Florida’s public records law.