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CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – One person was killed in a wrong way crash on the Sawgrass Expressway in Coral Springs.
The accident, which involved three vehicles, happened just after 5 a.m. Wednesday morning in the southbound lanes between Sample Road and Coral Ridge Drive just east of the curve.
The driver of a Hyundai Sonata, which was going the wrong way, and the driver of a Toyota Corolla, identified as 56-year old Cesar Nunez, were taken to the hospital; the driver of the Sonata died, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The driver of the third vehicle, identified as 18-year old Nicholas Cassell, was not injured, but really shaken up.
“I see like lights come around the curve,” he told us, “and I was like, ‘those are on my side of the Sawgrass, they’re on my side. They’re coming the wrong way.'”
He was able to move out of the way after being hit by the Corolla after it was struck by the Sonata. He said the crash in front of him was violent. “Their front end just completely disintegrated in like a kind of like an explosion everything,” he said. “Just disintegrated and blew apart.”
FHP has not released the name of the deceased driver.
Investigators say the driver of the Sonata triggered a ‘wrong way’ sign when they entered the highway from Sample Road.
The scene of the accident was just west of another wrong way wreck which killed 21-year old Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante and 21-year old Marisa Caran Catronio in November 2013. Kayla Mendoza, 21, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for DUI Manslaughter.
The news is tough to hear for Gary Catronio, Marissa’s father.
“Our bodies shake and tremble and we just think of our daughter every time this happens again,” said Catronio.
Following the deaths of Ferrante and Catronio, the Florida Turnpike began a pilot program and installed radar enabled wrong way signs and cameras to 15 highway interchanges in South Florida. When the signs detect a wrong way driver, they flash a warning to alert the driver and alert the FHP.
Catronio and his group, Marissa’s way, are working on another warning system; poles to stop drivers.
“Polls are going to come popping up out of the ground and they say ‘wrong way’ on each pole,” explained Catronio. “There’s going to be about eight of them across the laneway, it would shut the lane down.”
He added that his studies show the poles are very effective.
“The polls come up they’re going to block the road like it is shut down,” said Catronio. “We never saw a wrong way driver turn into a guardrail. If it’s blocked they don’t go that way.