MacDill AFB medical tech dies in Gibsonton crash
A member of the 6th Air Mobility Wing stationed at MacDill Air Force Base was identified Monday as the woman who died in a crash Saturday on Interstate 75 in Gibsonton. According to a news release from the base, Staff Sgt. Cheryl T. Westbrook, 35, of Gibsonton, was an orthopedic surgical technician with the 6th Medical Operations Squadron. "This is a sorrowful and tragic loss for the 6th Air Mobility Wing," said Col. Scott DeThomas, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Staff Sgt. Westbrook's family, friends and members of Team MacDill community touched by this loss." Westbrook joined the Air Force in May 1995 and arrived at MacDill in June 2011. Her previous assignments included Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, Yokota Air Base in Japan, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and Osan Air Base in South Korea."Cheryl was a hardworking and loyal teammate," said Col. Elizabeth Decker, 6th Medical Operations Squadron commander. "She will be missed so very much." The crash occurred about 10:45 a.m. on I-75, just north of Gibsonton Drive, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Westbrook was driving a 2008 Toyota Tacoma in the center lane of I-75 when Candelaria M. Perez, 38, of Riverview, in 1999 Lexus tried to change lanes into the center lane, troopers said. The cars collided, and Westbrook’s Toyota left the roadway, hit a Florida Department of Transportation sign and turned over, troopers said. The Lexus spun and stopped on the grass. Perez was taken to Brandon Regional Hospital. Westbrook, who died at the scene, was not identified by the highway patrol until Monday, after family members were notified. "Our priorities right now are to help Staff Sgt. Westbrook's family any way we can, and to ensure our team is mentally ready to continue with medical operations on MacDill," said DeThomas. "I would like to thank the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Tampa Bay community for their continued support."