15-year-old dies after crashing car into Hillsborough River

12:44 PM, Jan 6, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- Tampa police have identified the 15-year-old who crashed a car into the Hillsborough River.

Officials say Roderick Williams of Tampa was driving alone when the car careened off the Laurel Street Bridge into the Hillsborough River below. Witnesses told 10 News that Williams was driving at a high speed in downtown Tampa.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene around 4:45 a.m. Sunday morning, but were unable to save Williams, who was trapped under water for as long as 10 to 15 minutes, according to a Tampa Fire spokeswoman. Fire rescue crews say it's unclear if the driver died from the impact or drowned.

A person who lives near the bridge was first to jump in the water, according to witnesses. Firefighters also entered the water, but ended up having to rescue the good Samaritan who was struggling and disoriented after trying to free the trapped driver. Firefighters say that person was treated and is expected to be okay.

Witnesses who heard the crash say the car appeared to be speeding when it went through the upper guardrail on the bridge's westbound side. It is unclear if early morning fog might have played a role in the crash.

A dive team was on scene along with crews trying to remove the fully submerged vehicle from the river early Sunday. The bridge was  closed several hours for repairs.

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