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Largo woman has apparent heart attack, dies in crash


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A 50-year-old Largo woman was killed Tuesday morning after police say she had an apparent heart attack and crashed into another car before driving off the road.

St. Petersburg police say Karen Staszak was driving a 2009 Dodge Charger on 66th Street North, at 18th Avenue North, when she became unconscious.

Staszak’s foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas pedal, police say. She then accelerated and struck the back of a 2008 Chevrolet Impala driven by Sharon Abbotts, 69, of St. Petersburg, who was stopped at a red light in the northbound left turn lane to 18th Avenue North.

When the light changed to green, police say Abbotts made her left turn to pull off the roadway after being hit by Staszak’s car. Once Abbotts’ car was clear, Staszak accelerated out of the turn lane and into a wide left turn.

Staszak’s vehicle ran off the roadway on the northwest corner of the intersection, police say. She ran through a fence, and then came to final rest in the middle of a dried-up retention pond.

Staszak was transported to St. Pete General Hospital in critical condition and later transferred to Largo Medical, where she died at 5:40 p.m. as a result of her medical episode, police say.

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