Palm Harbor Firefighter Severely Injured While Responding to Rear-End Collision
Pinellas County law enforcement officials are currently working in conjunction with the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue in order to determine the exact cause of a deadly auto accident that claimed the life of one individual and severely injured a local firefighter early Wednesday morning along U.S. Highway 19 near Innisbrook Drive.
According to first responders with the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue and the Florida Highway Patrol, it was approximately 3:19 a.m. on September 22, 2021, when officers were dispatched to the scene of a minor rear-end collision within the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 19 between a 53-year-old Tarpon Springs man driving a sedan and a 35-year-old Clearwater female, who was also driving a sedan. As the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue squad started to set up a secure perimeter around the fender-bender with their emergency vehicles, a 26-year-old resident of Ohio entered the vicinity at a high rate of speed in a silver GMC Denali. Before anyone had time to react to the oncoming pickup, it slammed into the side of both firetrucks while simultaneously hitting 38-year-old Lt. Ashley White who was standing near the collision when it occurred.
Since Pinellas County EMTs were already at the scene of the first accident, they were able to quickly transport Lt. White to Bayfront Medical Center where she remains in critical condition in the ICU awaiting surgery for her injuries. The 26-year-old driver of the Denali was transported to AdventHealth North Pinellas but passed away shortly upon arrival due to the severity of his injuries. One driver from the initial collision was also taken to the hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries. The second driver from the first crash suffered minor injuries but refused treatment.
Although it is currently under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol, it is unclear at this time what caused the fatal collision. “We don’t know if it was a medical event or impairment. It’s very early on in the investigation to tell you at this point,” said FHP spokesperson Sgt. Steve Gaskins in a statement to the press. Further details regarding the incident are expected to be released to the public once the case has been closed.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.