Another person has been killed in a car crash on Pasco County’s U.S. Highway 19, a stretch of asphalt routinely called one of the deadliest roads in America.
A 79-year-old man from New Port Richey was driving an SUV northbound when he reached the intersection of Sea Ranch Drive and turned left “into the path” of a pickup truck, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The truck, driven by a 35-year-old man, was traveling southbound and collided with the SUV.
The SUV landed in the grass median and the pickup on the west shoulder after the crash. The elderly driver died at the scene. He was not wearing a seatbelt, troopers said.
Both the truck driver and his three passengers — a 30-year-old woman and two girls, 4 and 8 — sustained minor injuries. All are from Spring Hill and were wearing seatbelts, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
There have been at least 16 fatalities and 1,540 injuries from crashes in Pasco County since the start of the year, according to estimates from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles published in mid March.
U.S. 19 has long been considered perilously for all who travel along it, especially pedestrians. In September, Pasco County Commissioners voted unanimously to support a new initiative, midblock crosswalks, in the hope of improving safety. The Florida Department of Transportation is also set to spend millions of dollars for safety features including upgraded lighting, delayed green lights for vehicle traffic and other intersection changes, the Times previously reported.