Two were seriously injured in a car crash northwest of Wesley Chapel Saturday when a man failed to stop at a red light.
According to a news release from the Florida Highway Patrol, Cooper Gil, 28, of Dade City, was driving a Volkswagen Jetta westbound on County Road 54 near Grand Oaks Boulevard about 9:30 p.m.
Also headed westbound on County Road 54 was Paula Ortiz, 24, of Land O’Lakes, in a 2004 Acura. She came to a stop in the left turn lane, the release said.
At the same time, Desiree Murphy, 24, of Land O’Lakes was driving a Honda Civic southbound in the left turn lane of Grand Oaks Boulevard. Murphy got a green light, and began to turn onto County Road 54.
But Gil ran the red light, the release said. The right front of his car crashed into the front of Murphy’s, then spun and crashed into Ortiz'.
The second crash, between the cars driven by Gil and Ortiz, ejected people from their cars, the release said. Gil was ejected, as was Ortiz’ passenger, David Roman, 23, of Land O’Lakes.
The news release initially said neither Roman nor Gil were wearing a seat belt. However, after this story’s initial publication, Ortiz in an email said that Roman was in fact wearing a seat belt. Florida Highway Patrol subsequently updated its release to show that Roman was wearing a seat belt.
The crash did not fully throw Roman from Ortiz’ car, Ortiz said, but “the impact did make his passenger door open and cause him to hang out of the car.“
Both Gil and Roman were seriously hurt in the crash, the release said. Gil was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Roman was taken to AdventHealth.
Gil was cited for running the red light, driving with no seat belt and driving with an expired tag, the release said. Authorities said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
This story was updated after publication with more information from Ortiz.