CAPE CORAL, Fla. - It's been a deadly start to the year on southwest Florida roads. Thursday alone, four people were killed in traffic crashes.
Debris still litters the side of Veterans Parkway in Cape Coral, left from a violent crash Thursday afternoon. Cape Coral Police say a hummer traveling west drifted off the road and hit a row a shrubs. The vehicle, driven by 35-year-old Jason Jones then drifted back across the westbound lanes, crossed the median and went into the eastbound lanes. Driving the wrong way, investigators say it struck a minivan, flipping both vehicles onto their roofs.
"This is up there with some of the worst ones I've seen," Police Chief Jay Murphy said of the crash.
Jones and an 8-year-old passenger had minor injuries. But police say the minivan passengers, 48-year-old Joanne Grimes of Venice and another man who hasn't yet been identified, were killed. Just minutes before that, a man was killed in a motorcycle crash on Del Prado Boulvard, and later that night, a pedestrian was hit and killed on U.S. 41 in North Fort Myers. That's four lives lost in just a matter of hours.
These are the fatal crashes that have happened in Lee County in just the last two weeks:
FEB. 15 -- I-75 between Colonial Boulevard and Daniels Parkway
FEB. 20 -- 2100 Hancock Bridge Parkway, Cape Coral
FEB. 21 -- 720 Chiquita Boulevard North, Cape Coral
FEB. 26 -- Veronica Shoemaker Boulevard/Canal Street, Fort Myers
FEB. 28 -- 300 block of Del Prado Boulevard North, Cape Coral
FEB. 28 -- 1500 Veterans Memorial Parkway West, Cape Coral
FEB. 28 -- U.S. 41 and Betmar Boulevard, North Fort Myers
How does 2013 compare to 2012? Fort myers police reported 7 fatal crashes in 2012. So far in 2013, there have been 3. Cape Coral Police investigated 20 fatal crashes last year. In the first two months of 2013, they've already seen 10 - half of 2012.
While it's been a deadly start to the year, Cape Coral Police Chief Jay Murphy said at Thursday's crash on Veterans Parkway, it doesn't have to end that way.
"It's a busy time of the year in southwest Florida," Murphy said. "We've got a lot of visitors. That didn't necessarily come into play in this particular crash, but we all need to slow down. Life doesn't have to be such a rush."
On Monday, Veterans Parkway is one of three roads that may be targeted by the Lee County Sheriff's Office for enforcement. Locations are picked based upon high incidence of crashes, traffic surveys and citizen complaints.