Trooper: Driver Had No Recall of Brandon Kings Avenue Accident
The Valrico driver reportedly had no memory of what happened just before the accident, in which her car veered off the road at Brandon Boulevard (State Road 60) and Kings Avenue and struck a TECO utility pole, water pump and Einstein Bros. Bagels sign.
For trooper E. Millan-Cintron, it was business as usual early in the morning April 9, as he bought a cup of coffee at the RaceTrac service station to start the day.
Minutes later, traveling west on Brandon Boulevard, east of Kings Avenue, the trooper said he saw some sparks — and then road lights going off one by one.
“Okay, this is not right,” he reported thinking. “I drove a little closer and saw the car.”
That car, a 2002 Chevy Impala, was driven by its sole occupant, Kristi Jeanette Menendez, 48, of 1105 Soaring Osprey Way, Valrico, who reportedly suffered minor injuries in the accident.
The crash split a TECO utility pole and light support and caused damage to a back-flow water pump and Einstein Bros. Bagels sign, the trooper said.
- For photos of the crash's aftermate, visit Traffic Crash Repair Photos From Brandon Boulevard, Kings Avenue.
The accident reportedly occurred at 6:54 a.m. and, according to Millan-Cintron, caused the closure of Kings Avenue, north of Brandon Boulevard, for about an hour.
In an interview at the scene before 10 a.m., the trooper added that the westbound Brandon Boulevard turn lane would remain closed for at least another 40 minutes.
Millan-Cintron said Menendez reported that she did not have a memory of the accident, and thus was transported to Brandon Regional Hospital for observation.
“She veered off the road, through the sign, the water pump and the pole,” Millan-Cintron said. “She doesn’t remember anything during the accident or after the accident. We took her to the hospital as a precautionary [measure].”
Upon seeing the overturned car, Millan-Cintron said he turned on his lights and went to the scene. A paramedic from AmeriCare was driving by, he added, and stopped to lend assistance.
Also on the scene was an eyewitness.
Millan-Cintron said the witness told him that Menendez “wasn’t driving fast at all” and that the traffic light at Kings Avenue and Brandon Boulevard, at the time of the accident, had been green.
“The car was traveling about 30 miles per hour, if that, and [the eyewitness] said she thought the car was turning, but it was veering off gradually,” Millan-Cintron said. “Then, it hit the sign, the back-flow pump and overturned and the eyewitness got really scared.”
As for the driver, somebody was on her side that day.
"When it's our time it's our time," Millan-Cintron said. "This was not her time."