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Zephyrhills children seriously injured in head-on crash with dump truck

THONOTOSASSA — A 6-year-old boy from Zephyrhills was critically injured Wednesday morning and two other children are in serious condition after a car they were riding in was struck head-on by a dump truck on U.S. 301, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers say the driver of the children's car, Aimee Lopez, 40, of Zephyrhills, was also seriously injured in the crash, which occurred around 6:23 a.m. The two vehicles made impact just south of Stacy Road, shutting down both northbound and southbound traffic on U.S. 301 for hours.

The crash occurred after a dump-truck driver, Vladimir Carvajal, 40, failed to see a stopped 2017 Kia Soul attempting to turn in front of him while he drove northbound, troopers said. Carvajal then swerved in an attempt to avoid the Soul but failed, striking the car and traveling into the southbound lane of U.S. 301, where he crashed head-on into Lopez's 2008 Ford Explorer.

Lopez and her three children were all transported to Tampa General, troopers say. Six-year-old Kieran Lopez was airlifted to the hospital, while Jayden Lopez, 13, and Alexis Lopez, 10, were taken via ground transportation. The children are all in guarded but stable condition. All four were wearing seat belts and the children were wearing child restraints.

Carvajal was not injured, troopers say. The driver of the Soul, 53-year-old Lisa Davis of Tampa, sustained minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.

This is a developing story. Stay with the Times for updates.

Traffic backed up near Stacy Road on U.S. 301 after crash near Mango Road closes both lanes. Motorists driving north are being told to detour to Knights Griffin to Fort King Highway. Was stuck in no-mans land for 30-plus minutes. @TB_Times