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FHP: 14-year-old driver sparks crash that hospitalizes six, closes Interstate 4

Published Apr. 17, 2017

TAMPA — A 14-year-old at the wheel sparked a crash that hospitalized six people, including three children, and closed part of Interstate 4 for several hours Saturday evening, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

At about 7 p.m., Armani Santi De Jesus of Tampa was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer west on the interstate approaching mile marker 4 with six passengers in the car. De Jesus, whose mother was one of the passengers, tried to switch from the outside to the center lane.

He noticed another vehicle in the center lane and overcorrected to avoid hitting it, troopers said. De Jesus then lost control of the Explorer, which veered into a barrier wall.

Authorities rushed De Jesus and his mother, 32-year-old Amanda Teresa Rossiter, to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries.

Another passenger, 34-year-old Louis Gabino Serrano Soto, was also taken with serious injuries to the same hospital with his children Valantina Serrano, 3; Juan Carlos Serrano, 6; and Jaharia Serrano, 6.

A sixth passenger, 16-year-old Johnathan Occide, had minor injuries.

The crash closed parts of westbound I-4 for several hours. Troopers arrested De Jesus on charges of careless driving and driving without a license.