A man died last week after accidentally driving his car the wrong way into oncoming traffic on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Dennis Wayne Garate, 63, was driving his Toyota southbound towards Idlewild Avenue on the Dale Mabry Highway when he entered the left turn lane of the road. However, instead of turning he continued through the intersection and drove over a divider.

Mr. Garate crashed into Celena Marie Martinez, 37, who was stopped in the left turn lane on the northbound side of the Dale Mabry Highway. He then continued to drive the wrong way down the highway and hit a Nissan Altima. The Altima was driven by Paige Alexis Myers, 21, and had Jessica Myers, 41, as a passenger. Both of the Myers women were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital with serious injuries, and two other passengers in the Nissan Altima were treated for minor injuries. Sadly, Mr. Garate was declared dead at the scene.

The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident, and no charges are expected to be filed in this case. However, police did report that no alcohol was involved in the accident.

Wrong Way Car Accidents

Car accidents that happen because one vehicle is driving the wrong way down the road only make up a small fraction of the total number of accidents every year, but are responsible for a large number of serious injuries and deaths. According to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, wrong way accidents are a serious and growing concern in many states across the country, including Florida.

Wrong way car accidents account for only three percent of the total accidents across the country every year, but they are much more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities than any other type of traffic accident. In some states, the chances of a wrong way accident leading to a fatality is 27 times more likely than other types of car accidents. Independent state evaluations have found the rate to range between 12 and 22 percent more likely than other types of traffic accidents on highways and other major roads.

This study found that the vast majority of wrong way drivers are between the ages of 20 and 50 years old; however, a significant number of these accidents are also caused by drivers that are over the age of 80 years old. In addition, alcohol plays a role in many wrong way driving accidents, but this was not the case in Mr. Garate’s fatal crash.

Call Our Personal Injury Attorneys Now

Call the office or contact us today if you or a loved one has been involved in a wrong way accident in the Tampa Bay area. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law are here to help. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.