MANATEE - A soda bottle lodged under a brake pedal helped cause a three-vehicle collision and a serious injury at 3:18 p.m. Sunday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP Trooper Rony Refuse reported a 2001 Lincoln Navigator driven by 34-year-old Brandy Nicole Fransworth of Bradenton was southbound on Ninth Street East approaching 33rd Avenue East when she could not brake to avoid a collision with a 2006 Honda Italia stopped in traffic by a 28-year-old Bradenton man.
The Navigator rear-ended the Italia and the driver fell to the ground. Pushed by the Navigator, the Italia struck the rear end of a 2006 Kia Sedona driven by a 76-year-old Sarasota woman.
The Italia overturned on its left side and came to rest facing south in the southbound lane. The Navigator and Sedona stopped facing south.
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The driver of the Italia was hospitalized in crfitical condition at Blake Medical Center. He was not wearing a helmet.
There were no other injuries. Fransworth was charged with careless driving.
The FHP reports alcohol was not suspected as a cause of the accident.