TAMPA — An early-morning crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway early Wednesday killed two men and prompted authorities to close the roadway in both directions for several hours, Tampa police said.
The road closure was announced in a news release sent shortly before 5 a.m., shutting down one of three bridges that connect Hillsborough and Pinellas counties through the morning rush hour. At 12:15 p.m., police confirmed to the Times that the causeway had opened to traffic once again.
Tampa police say the crash happened near the Clearwater side of the causeway but remained in their jurisdiction.
Witnesses called 911 around 3:40 a.m. to report a 2005 Kia Sorrento had flipped and its occupants were ejected, police said. Two men from that vehicle died at the scene, and two other people were sent to the hospital — a 36-year-old man in critical condition and a 33-year-old woman who may have internal injuries, the agency said in an updated news release sent at 5:41 p.m.
Police did not release the names of those in the Kia.
Joshua Roelof, the driver of a 2017 Nissan GT-R that rear-ended the Kia, was not injured and is cooperating with investigators, the updated release said.
Detectives believe alcohol and “improper seatbelt use” were factors in the crash, according to the updated release.
Police say officers from the Clearwater Police Department also responded to the crash and helped with traffic control on the Pinellas side of the causeway.
A second crash late Wednesday afternoon caused some westbound lanes of the Courtney Campbell Causeway to shut down, according to Jamel Laneè, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department, but she described it as “minor.”
Traffic was at a near standstill as of 4:45 p.m., a Times staffer on the causeway reported. By 5:30 p.m., a truck had towed the vehicles involved in the crash and traffic was moving.
Times staff writer Michaela Mulligan contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com