SEFFNER — A 24-year-old driver was arrested after she was clocked driving 111 miles per hour just before crashing into a car dealership along Interstate 4, leaving three injured and one dead, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The driver, Jennifer Carvajal of Tampa, had served nearly four years in prison for a 2014 DUI manslaughter death in Plant City and is on probation in that case, according to court records.
The crash occurred about 1:40 a.m. Sunday at the Gator Ford dealership, 1780 Tampa Gateway Blvd., across I-4 from Armwood High School, the Highway Patrol said.
Troopers gave this account.
A Highway Patrol sergeant was traveling east on I-4 when he clocked a silver Hyundai Elantra traveling west at 111 miles per hour. The sergeant pulled into the median and again clocked the Hyundai at 111 miles per hour.
The car passed the sergeant without stopping, he clocked its speed again at 111 miles per hour and turned to overtake it. As he caught up with the car, the driver turned hard to the right, entered the shoulder, hit an embankment and became airborne.
The car flew through the air over a highway fence and collided with a Ford F-250 pickup truck parked at Gator Ford. The car continued moving, struck a concrete light pole and a palm tree and overturned in the dealership parking lot.
Carvajal was the only one of the four occupants of the car wearing a seatbelt and she received minor injuries, troopers said. A 19-year-old Plant City woman was seriously injured when she was thrown from the front passenger seat to the rear seat.
Ejected from the car were two passengers in the rear seat — a 20-year-old Plant City woman who received serious injuries and a 22-year-old Plant City man who was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died Sunday night, troopers said.
Carvajal was arrested on charges including reckless driving-serious injury, DUI-serious injury, several counts of DUI property damage, driving without a license-serious injury and violating probation for the earlier DUI manslaughter cause. After the 22-year-old died from his injuries, her charges will be upgraded, according to the Highway Patrol.
In the earlier case, Carvajal was speeding and ran a red light when she drove an SUV into a car before dawn Feb. 5, 2014, on Alexander Street near Interstate 4, Plant City police said. Keith Davis, 52, who was delivering newspapers, died in the crash. Carval was 16 at the time and was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and driving without a valid license.
Carvajal was prosecuted as an adult and sentenced to five years in state prison in January 2016. She was released early in October 2019, according to state Department of Corrections records. She was rearrested in May for a drug-related probation violation and sentenced to five more years probation, according to Hillsborough Circuit Court Clerk records.