Five people were injured, three of them seriously, in a head-on collision on the Seven Mile Bridge around noon Monday.
The seriously injured were taken to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit hangar in Marathon where the county’s two Trauma Star helicopters flew them to a hospital in Miami, said Adam Linhardt, Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Authorities closed the bridge in both directions for more than an hour while first responders treated the patients and the wrecks were cleared. Heavy delays were expected Monday afternoon even after the bridge opened around 1:30 p.m.
The crash happened at mile marker 41 between a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible and a 2017 Hyundai sport utility vehicle. According to FHP Lt. Kathleen McKinney, the Mustang, driven by Christian Charapata, 37, of Brooklyn, New York, was heading south but drifted over the center line and into the path of the Hyundai, driven by Mark Campbell, 48, of Oakland Park in Broward County, who was driving north on the bridge.
Both drivers were taken to Fisherman’s Community Hospital in Marathon in serious condition.
Charapata’s two passengers, Jayden Charapata and another person not yet named by the FHP, were flown to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition, as was Campbell’s passenger, Christine Schultz, McKinney said.
The FHP did not have the ages for Christine Schultz and Jayden Charapata.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Follow David Goodhue on Twitter @DavidGoodhue