UPDATE: 4 hurt in US 19 multi-vehicle crash

Clearwater, Florida – Rush hour traffic was brought to a standstill in Clearwater on Tuesday afternoon after a trailer became detached from the pickup truck that was towing it on U.S. 19 at Curlew Road.

"It gets tight. ... It's like NASCAR out here," said a tow truck driver who only wanted to be identified as Cliff.

In fact, he was among those called in to clean up the scene that involved 10 vehicles.

Witnesses say that when the trailer separated from a white Ford pickup, it went airborne and then crashed.

A driver told 10 News that the trailer hit the side of her minivan, while the other cars involved were damaged while they swerved to avoid crashing into the trailer.

The driver a 2009 Toyota Corolla, 35-year-old Paniphone Cinnavongsa, was airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries. The driver of the Ford pickup truck, 37-year-old Robert Piper, was cited for careless driving. Three others, in two separate cars, were taken to Mease Countryside Hospital with minor injuries.

A report from the Florida Department of Transportation found that the there were 79 crashes -- second highest in Pinellas County -- at the U.S. 19 and Curlew Road intersection in 2012.

"You get them texting, putting on makeup, or trying to drink and do too many things at one time it happens," said Cliff, adding it has become a challenge to navigate near distracted drivers.

The intersection with the most incidents is just one mile north at U.S. 19 and Tampa Road, where there were 86 crashes, according to the FDOT.


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