5 people killed, including 2 children, in fiery Hillsborough crash

Image: FHP
Image: FHP

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Five people were killed, including two young children, in a fiery crash that happened on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Hillsborough County Wednesday night, Florida Highway Patrol says.

FHP says the crash happened around 9:47 p.m. when a Volkswagen Golf was traveling westbound on SR 574, also known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, approaching Coconut Palm Drive when, for unknown reasons, lost control and crossed over the median of the road colliding head-on with a Toyota minivan, which caught fire. The VW then rotated and collided with two other vehicles.

Troopers confirmed four fatalities Wednesday and say a fifth victim died Thursday morning.

Both the driver of the Golf, 22-year-old Pablo Cortes III of Brandon, and the passenger of the Golf, 19-year-old Jolie Bartolome of Lithia, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the minivan, 39-year-old Marianela Murillo of Tampa, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two children — 9-year-old John Bernal and 10-year-old Isabell Bernal — were pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital. Two other teenagers in the minivan are in critical condition.

familykilled
39-year-old Marianela Murillo, top right, with her husband, John Bernal, top left, 9-year-old John Bernal and 10-year-old Isabell Bernal (bottom left) on the family photo.

The driver of the third vehicle is in serious condition. The driver and passenger in the fourth vehicle were not injured.

FHP says racing is not believed to be a factor in the crash, although the Golf was speeding before losing control.

Video shows badly damaged vehicles, including a charred white mini-van.

Around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, tow trucks arrived on scene to move the vehicles from the roadway. MLK Blvd. opened just after 4 a.m. Thursday.

Distraught family members and friends arrived at the scene. Some could be heard screaming after receiving the horrible news.

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