Five people, including two children, were killed late Wednesday in a fiery crash in east Tampa.

  • 5 killed in east Tampa crash
  • Crash involved four vehicles on MLK Jr Blvd
  • Children among those killed in crash

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash involving four vehicles happened just before 10 p.m. on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Coconut Palm Drive. 

Troopers said the crash involved a sports sedan, a minivan and two other vehicles. 

Troopers said the driver of a Volkswagen Golf traveling westbound on MLK lost control and crossed over the median and crashed nearly head on into a Toyota Sienna minivan, which caught fire. 

The Volkswagen then spun and struck a Toyota Scion compact car. The debris from the second collision then hit a BMW sedan. 

According to officials, 22-year-old Pablo Cortes, the driver of the Volkswagen, and his passenger, 19-year-old Jolie Bartolome, died at the scene. In the Toyota Sienna, 39-year-old Marianela Murillo was killed, along with siblings John Bernal (9 years old) and Isabell Bernal (10).

According to the Hillsborough County School District, the children were students at Mango Elementary. Grief counselors were at the school Thursday.

Two other passengers in the Sienna, a 15-year-old girl and 18-year-old girl, suffered critical injuries and were rushed to Tampa General Hospital. 

The 54-year-old driver of the Scion also was taken to Tampa General with serious injuries. The driver of the BMW was not injured.   

The crash left debris strewn across all lanes of MLK. In fact, a wrecker was brought in just to load up the mangled metal and car parts from the crash. 

FHP said it has not determined how the crash happened but based on the damage to the cars involved, speed may have been a factor. 

MLK was closed after the crash and reopened just after 4 a.m. Thursday. The crash remains under investigation.