Seffner man works to save people from burning car in Selmon Expressway crash

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Just after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Don Rogers was heading home from work when he saw cars spinning and dust flying in front of him on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.

Tampa police say Amber Nicole Perera, 29, of Brandon, was traveling at a high rate of speed and lost control of her 2014 Kia as she tried to pass two other cars.

Perera slammed into the back of a Hyundai, which traveled across the median and was struck by a Jeep and an Infinity SUV.

Police said Perera left the scene, taking off a high rate of speed.

Rogers and others pulled over and found the Hyundai on fire.

They did their best to save the driver.

“Saw the driver, he was unresponsive, couldn’t tell if there was anyone else in the car. The back seats were already on fire and full of smoke,” said Rogers.

Rogers pulled out a pocket knife to cut the seat belt off of the driver. He and another man then pulled him from the car.

“My keys fell out of my pocket next to the car when I pulled my knife out. Later on, one of the firemen, one of the girls had found my keys laying on the ground. My key fob was all melted and burned up, and a couple tags that were on it,” said Rogers, describing the temperature in the car.

“A few people were taking turns doing CPR on him and when one would get tired, another one would take over,” he said.

What they didn’t know is that there were still two more people in the burning car.

“Unfortunately at the time when we did this, we didn’t know anything about the other two family members, the young child and the wife in the back seat. I didn’t know it until later on that it happened and I almost wish we could have. If we could have done a little more, if we had known,” said Rogers, as his voice chocked with emotion.

Tampa police confirm all three people in the burning car died from their injuries. They have not released their identities as the medical examiner works to confirm who they are.

Police caught up with Perera shortly after the crash when her car broke down.

She is charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of a crash with death, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury and tampering with physical evidence.

Follow Jeff Patterson on Facebook


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