CLEARWATER, Fla — Three drivers are behind bars Friday morning after the Clearwater Police Department says a wrong-way driver triggered a series of crashes.
Just after midnight, multiple 911 calls came in about a car going eastbound in the westbound lanes of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, according to a press release.
Police say that car got into one crash before the driver and passenger switched places and began driving in the right direction. Both were reported to be impaired at the time.
Officers in the area conducting DUI-directed patrols were able to spot and stop the car near Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.
Meanwhile, back at the initial crash, police say the responding officer was assisting that driver when his patrol car was hit by another drunk driver. The officer was not injured but his patrol car sustained serious damage, according to a press release.
Those in the wrong-way car were identified as 23-year-old Juan Caraballo Guerrero and 30-year-old Veronica Tejada, according to police. Caraballo was charged with DUI with property damage, aggravated battery, leaving the scene of a crash and possession of marijuana. While Tejada was charged with DUI and possession of marijuana.
The driver who crashed into the officer's car was identified as 33-year-old Maria Perdomo. She was charged with a DUI.
"In today's era of rideshares and designated drivers and other alternatives, there is no excuse to get behind the wheel of a car if you have been drinking," said Police Chief Dan Slaughter.
The Clearwater Police Department says it will continue to conduct enhanced DUI enforcement at the causeway and other city roads for the next few weeks with spring break underway.
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