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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Separate crashes close I-275; drunk driver strikes cruiser

Two separate crashes closed all lanes on Interstate 275 at Bearss Avenue early this morning — one involving a drunk driver striking a parked Florida Highway Patrol cruiser.

All lanes are now open in both directions, but traffic is backed up.

According to the FHP, 28-year-old Christopher J. Cayer, of Wesley Chapel, was driving a 1999 Mercury station wagon northbound in the center lane on I-275 approaching Bearss Avenue just after 1 a.m. when he crossed into the inside lane.

He struck a 2004 Chevrolet 3500 pickup truck driven by Shane Michael Stevens, 57, of Land O’ Lakes.

Stevens’ truck entered the median and struck a guard rail, while Cayer was ejected from his car ater it overturned and struck a semi-tractor trailer driven by Patricia L. Pawlowski of Jacksonville, coming to rest in the northbound lanes, the FHP said.

Cayer suffered serious injuries, and investigators are determining whether alcohol was a factor in the crash, the FHP said.

Stevens suffered minor injuries, and Pawlowski was not hurt, the FHP said.

The crash closed northbound lanes until 6:30 p.m.

The second crash occurred just after 3 a.m. on southbound I-275 at Busch Boulevard.

The FHP said Freddie Massie III, 28, of Tampa, was driving a 2014 Lincoln southbound, after crews had closed all southbound lanes with traffic cones, construction barrels and road closed signs.

Massie failed to exit the roadway as directed, the FHP said. He drove into the work zone and struck a stationary FHP cruiser that was parked facing northbound within the closed portion with its emergency lights on.

The unidentified trooper, who was inside the cruiser, sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene, the FHP said.

Massie had a blood-alcohol content of .21 and was arrested at the scene on DUI and DUI property damage charges. He was transported to Hillsborough County Jail with bond set at $1,500.

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