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Tampa Facing Growing Problem with Wrong Way Drivers

The Tampa Police Department stated that one of their own officers is the latest in a string of drunken driving incidents where the driver was also going the wrong way down the road. Police arrested Officer Anton Lipinski, 32, in the early morning hours last week after he crashed his car and failed sobriety tests. The wrong way wreck has resulted in the officer being placed on an unpaid suspension.

According to the police report, Officer Lipinski was driving drunk northbound down the southbound only stretch of Highland Avenue when he hit a median, took out a sign, and then rammed into a homeowner’s wall and fence. The homeowner was startled from her sleep around 1:30 a.m. when the car hit the home’s front retaining wall.

Tampa police say that Officer Lipinski failed his sobriety tests and blew a .16% and .18% on the breathalyzer tests, twice the legal limit in the state of Florida. The officer has been a part of the Tampa police force since March, 2013, and has had no disciplinary actions on his record. Officer Lipinski will remain out on leave while his case goes through the court system. If he is found guilty, he could lose his job.

Growing List of Wrong Way Crashes, Arrests, and Deaths

Officer Lipinski’s wrong way drunk driving accident is only one of a growing list of drunken wrong way accidents plaguing Tampa this year. Earlier this month, a different Tampa police officer was hit in her patrol vehicle by a drunk driver going the wrong way down Armenia Avenue. Officer Stanek was rammed on the driver’s side of her vehicle and transported to the hospital with injuries. She has since been released. That same weekend, two other accidents were reported in Tampa of drunk drivers going the wrong way down streets.

So far this year, five wrong way drunk driving accidents have been deadly and cost eleven lives. On February 9, four University of South Florida fraternity brothers died when they were hit by a drunk driver going the wrong way. The driver of the other vehicle was also killed.

On August 13, another man was caught drunk driving the wrong way down the same road where the students had been killed months before. Two days later, a third driver drove the wrong direction down Interstate 275, drunk and under the influence of cocaine, when he crashed head on with an ambulance and died.

Late in September, a high school teacher was arrested for drunk driving the wrong way down Interstate 75, and the next day another person died on the same interstate driving drunk in the wrong direction before crashing head on into a semi-truck.

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If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, or Fort Myers, let the experienced car accident lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. Call or contact the office today to see how we can help you.

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