TAMPA, Fla. - Crews have recovered a vehicle that ended up in the water below the Howard Frankland Bridge after a traffic crash along Interstate 275 this morning, but there's no sign of the driver.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the crash occurred just after 7 a.m. Troopers initially said a white 2006 Saturn SUV, driving recklessly, changed lanes and into the path of a Ford F-150 as they headed southbound on the bridge.
Investigators now believe the two vehicles jockeyed for position, tailgating and changing lanes. That's when the rear of the SUV collided with the front-left side of the truck. The SUV rotated and overturned multiple times before flipping over the side of the bridge and into the waters of Tampa Bay.
The driver of the Ford truck, a 30-year-old man from Tampa, was not injured. But traffic crawled to a stop as first responders arrived on the bridge and on the water, searching for the SUV.
As Tampa Fire Rescue boat and other marine units circled beneath the bridge, the Tampa police dive team entered the water. Hours later, they connected cables to the SUV's undercarriage and a wrecker hoisted the vehicle from the water.
The dripping SUV was gently placed back onto the side of I-275, but troopers said there was no one inside.
"The occupant(s) have not been located," an FHP spokesman noted.
All I-275 lanes had reopened by 2:30 p.m.
Troopers are still investigating and charges are pending.