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Two USF students die in car crash

Two USF students died in a car accident early Tuesday morning minutes after the student driving the car ignored a police request to pullover for running a red light, police said.

At around 1:00 a.m., Brandon Swenson of 9808 Takomah Trail and passenger Alicia Bennington of 2493 Andasian Lane, Sarasota, were killed when Swenson drove his 1986 Dodge Daytona through a second red light and was broadsided by a 1993 Lexus driven by Adolphus Adams, 47, a police report said.

The rear of Swenson’s car then struck a utility pole at the intersection of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and 131st Avenue. Both Swenson, 21, and Bennington, 19, died upon impact with the utility pole, Lt. Rod Reder, a spokesman for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Adams was treated and released from University Community Hospital later that day.

Prior to the accident, a Hillsborough County deputy pursued Swenson’s car after he ran a red light at Fletcher Avenue and North Palm Drive, according to a police report. After seeing the infraction, Deputy James Ennis turned on his emergency lights to signal that Swenson should pull over, Reder said.

According to a police report, Swenson accelerated at a high speed onto campus.

At that point, Ennis turned off his flashers but continued to look for the Dodge around campus, the report stated. “He wasn’t going to chase (Swenson) through campus for a minor traffic violation,” Reder said. “But (Ennis) continued to look for the Dodge.”

Reder said Ennis eventually found the Dodge after it had crashed, and he attempted to perform first aid on the victims.

The police report said that Ennis followed the Sheriff’s pursuit policy of not engaging in a chase for traffic offenses.