Driver critically injured in campus crash

A Tampa Bay area man was in critical condition Thursday night after his car careened off Alumni Drive, rammed through a metal light pole and flipped one full revolution before coming to rest with all four wheels on the ground in the parking lot outside the University Technology Center.

The 27-year-old man – airlifted to Tampa General Hospital by rescue personnel following the accident – was driving a blue 2005 BMW sedan at an “extremely high rate of speed” while headed westbound over the speed bumps on Alumni Drive near the Engineering building. The driver lost control and hit a light pole on the south side of Alumni Drive before rolling over once and coming to rest 50 feet from the street, law enforcement officials said.

It was not clear Thursday whether the man was a student.

University Police and Florida Highway patrolmen roped off the section of Alumni Drive between Leroy Collins Boulevard and Walnut Drive for more than two hours after officers first responded to an emergency call at 4:45 p.m.

“This is a classic example of why speed limits are set on college campuses,” said FHP spokesman Larry Coggins Jr.

Most of the rear and left side of the BMW was crushed, and the only glass on the car still intact was the windshield. The wreck caused a complete severing of the BMW’s bumper, which lay fully intact about 20 feet from the car. The force of the car’s impact broke the metal light pole, which rested bent in the grass by the side of the street.

Coggins said the accident is still under investigation and that charges against the man are pending.

David Guidi can be reached at (813) 974-1888 or