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Trooper arrests second wrong-way driver in as many days, on Suncoast Parkway

LUTZ — A trooper arrested another wrong-way driver Thursday who told him she thought she was on Interstate 75 instead of where she really was — driving north in the southbound lanes of the Suncoast Parkway, authorities said.

The Florida Highway Patrol's Ronald Evans — the same trooper who arrested a wrong-way driver early Wednesday on the toll road — this time intercepted Lori Lee Downard, 49, of Zephyrhills in her beige 1999 Chevrolet near Van Dyke Road. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office alerted the Highway Patrol about Downard just after 3 a.m.

Downard told Evans she thought she was driving on the interstate to her home, the FHP said. Evans conducted field sobriety tests on Downard, after which she was arrested and taken to the Pasco County jail on a charge of driving under the influence. She was released from jail Thursday on her own recognizance.

A breath test indicated her blood-alcohol level was 0.115 percent, the FHP said. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08 percent.

About 6 miles south on the same road Wednesday, Evans arrested Maria Bolivar, 31, of Oldsmar after she was spotted driving north in the southbound lanes near Gunn Highway, where the tollway is called the Veterans Expressway.

Bolivar refused a breath test and faces a charge of driving under the influence, the Highway Patrol said. She was found guilty in 2008 of driving under the influence in Broward County and had her license suspended for six months, according to state records.

These two wrong-way incidents come one week after a 25-year-old woman driving the wrong way on I-75 was killed when she collided with a semitrailer truck. Eleven people have been killed this year in wrong-way crashes on Tampa Bay highways.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 226-3446 or Follow @josh_solomon15.