2 children seriously injured in Courtney Campbell crash

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Two little girls were seriously hurt, one of them with life-threatening injuries, after a four-car chain reaction crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway that was caused by a distracted driver, police say.

Six other people were taken to three area hospitals.

"When firefighters arrived it was quite a mess," said Clearwater Police spokesman Rob Shaw. "They had to cut multiple patients out of one vehicle."

Investigators say Julie Gough, 23, was driving along the causeway at around 7 p.m. Sunday at a high rate of speed. She told investigators she was distracted momentarily after she dropped a bottle of Gatorade, and when she looked back up, it was too late to stop and she rear ended a Honda Odyssey.  

The Odyssey hit the car in front of it, and that car slammed into the one in front of it. The impact was so great, several people had to be extricated from their vehicles.

Several lanes were closed for several hours, then reopened overnight.

The youngest child injured is a 1-year-old girl who is in critical condition. The other little girl is stable. Both of them are are being treated at Tampa General Hospital.

Clearwater Police said they plan on charging Gough, but for now, the investigation is ongoing.

"There's going to be consequences for her actions, not only through the justice system but through her own personal dealings. There are some serious injuries and a possible death could relate from this," Shaw said.