A 72-year-old Tampa woman died in a three-vehicle, chain-reaction crash in Pasco County on Friday afternoon.
About 3:32 p.m., Raelisha Marie Priestley, 24, of Zephyrhills, was driving a Ford Focus east on State Road 54 and behind her was Michael Anthony Cooper, 38, of Spring Hill, in a Kenworth dump truck, as they approached the intersection with Wesley Chapel Loop, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
At the same time, Aitza C. Bellaflores, 72, Tampa, was traveling west in a Honda Accord on State Road 54 approaching the same intersection.
As the vehicles neared each other, Priestley tried to avoid stopped traffic by braking and swerving left, FHP said. Her car entered the westbound lane and hit Bellaflores’ car.
The impact caused Bellaflores’ car to spin counter-clockwise and move into the eastbound lane where it collided with Cooper’s truck and then overturned, FHP said.
Bellaflores was dead at the scene, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue. Her passenger, Blake Perez, 11, New Port Richey, received minor injuries and was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.
Priestley and Cooper also had minor injuries.
FHP said charges are pending.