A teenage driver was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic in a Tuesday evening crash that injured nine people and shut down the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Investigators say Antonio Hernandez, 19, was headed westbound on the causeway around 6:30 p.m. when he attempted to make a U-turn at the Damascus Road traffic signal. Hernandez's 2000 Ford pickup was struck by an oncoming Nissan Altima that then left the roadway and went onto the adjacent causeway beach, with its vehicle engine compartment engulfed in flames.
The driver of the Altima, 54-year-old Marlene Val-Belcher, was pulled out of the vehicle by responding citizens before emergency personnel arrived, according to a City of Clearwater spokesperson.
There were eight people in the pickup, which suffered heavy damage, officials said. A 26-year-old woman, a 23-year-old man and a 9-year-old boy suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital, along with a 28-year-old woman who had minor injuries.
Five other patients were treated at the scene but refused transport, officials said.
In addition to failing to yield, Hernandez was cited for driving without a valid driver's license or proof of insurance.
Westbound traffic on the causeway was limited to one lane and both eastbound lanes were shut down until shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday.