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Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014

Fatal accident shuts down U.S. 19, MLK in Pinellas


Published:   |   Updated: March 1, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Tarpon Springs police are investigating the cause of an accident that ended with at least two people dead, three downed power poles and a car submerged in a pond.

The accident happened around 3 a.m. on U.S. Highway 19 near E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Tarpon Springs. Both roads remained closed in the area Saturday morning, police said.

An officer on foot patrol near Tarpon Tower heard a loud boom around 3 a.m. and arrived at the scene of the accident to find downed power lines across U.S. 19.

Jaime E. Alvarado, who works at a nearby McDonald’s, approached the officer and told him that after the boom he’d seen a white vehicle traveling north on U.S. 19 and another vehicle going airborne over a six-foot fence into the retention pond on the east side of the highway, police said.

Duke Energy workers were called to the scene to deal with multiple downed live wires. Once the power was turned off to those wires, police found an adult male dead with wires on top of his body.

Police said they are still investigating if the man was a pedestrian or was the driver of the vehicle that landed in the pond. Divers found another man dead, buckled into the passenger seat of a silver, two-door vehicle that was later pulled from the pond.

Police have not released the identity of either of the men.

Two other vehicles, an SUV and a pickup truck, crashed into the power lines before police were able to stop traffic on U.S. 19. The driver of the SUV was taken to Florida Hospital with minor injuries. The driver and passengers in the pickup were not injured.

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