Police: 2 adults, child killed in Selmon Expressway DUI hit-and-run

By Josh Rojas and Jason Lanning , Reporters
Last Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017, 4:30 PM EDT

A 29-year-old Brandon woman was arrested overnight after a DUI crash that left three people dead. 

  • Police: Woman, 29, in custody after DUI hit-and-run crash kills 3 
  • Amber Nicole Perera's car lost control on Selmon Expressway, caused crash
  • Three people (2 adults and a child) killed

According to Tampa police, Amber Nicole Perera was impaired when she lost control of her vehicle that set off a chain reaction of crashes. 

Police said Perera attempted to leave the scene but was apprehended minutes later. 

The crash occurred Thursday at 4:12 p.m. on the Selmon Expressway roughly a half mile east of the West Euclid Avenue entrance ramp. 

According to police, Perera was driving a 2014 Kia, which witnesses said was traveling at "high rate of speed."

The Kia attempted to pass at least two vehicles going in the same direction and struck the rear of a Hyundai occupied by three people, police said. 

The Hyundai began to spin into the grass median and entered the westbound lanes where the Hyundai was struck by a Jeep and an Infiniti SUV. The Hyundai came to rest in an embankment along the westbound lanes, fully engulfed in flames. 

A Seffner man who arrived shortly after the crash ran to the Hyundai and joined others in trying to assist the people in the burning car.

"Saw the driver, he was unresponsive," said the man, Don Rogers. "Couldn't tell if there was anyone else in the car. The backseats were already on fire and full of smoke.

Rogers said he cut a seatbelt and grabbed a man by the shoulders and, with help from someone else, got him out of the car.

The driver and two other occupants of the Hyundai vehicle, including another adult and a child, died at the scene.

"We didn't know anything about the other two family members," Rogers said, almost crying. "The smoke and and the flames were already into the backseats. So we couldn't see anything in there anyways.

The driver of the Jeep - Tracy Lee Kelly, 43, of Seminole - suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to an area hospital. The driver of the Infiniti, Jerry Camilo Lamberti, 20, of Brandon, was not injured.  

Police have not released the identities of the people killed. 

Perera has been charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury and hit-and-run failure to remain at the scene and tampering with evidence.

Perera's arrest report says she admitted to taking powerful prescription medications that treat anxiety - Ativan and Lexapro.

She was taken to Tampa General Hospital for a blood draw. And there, police say she tried hiding vials of blood that were taken as evidence. Perera is being held in protective custody without bond. 

The portion of the Selmon Expressway from W Euclid Avenue to Bay to Bay Boulevard remained closed until approximately 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Tampa Police Interim Police Chief Brian Duggan saluted Rogers for his heroic actions.

"I can tell you after 27 years of police experience this world needs more people like you. I just wanted to thank you for it," Duggan said to Rogers.