Hernando County, FL - A University of Tampa student was killed in a traffic crash in Hernando County Saturday night. She was with several other students and they were heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras during their spring break.
Tessa Byers, 19, of Carmel, Indiana died in the accident that happened around 10:15 p.m. along Interstate 75 south of State Road 50.
Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol say the vehicle she was a passenger in drove off the roadway and flipped. They also say Byers wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the back seat of the car.
Byers was a freshman majoring in criminology and she was active in theater.
Troopers say the driver of the vehicle was 19-year-old Russell Colleran. Investigators say he was headed north on Interstate 75 and, for unknown reasons, drove off of the roadway and onto the grass shoulder. His Dodge Caliber overturned several times.
Colleran spent the night in Pasco Regional Hospital due to his injuries in the crash. 10 News spoke with him over the phone. He has a broken sternum, a collapsed lung and head injuries but he has been treated and released from the hospital.
Four other University of Tampa students were passengers in the vehicle - Christopher Perry, 22, Jonathan Mojica, 22, Amanda Mancuso, 20, and Gregory Munnings, 20. They were all taken to Hernando Regional Hospital where they were treated and released.
The accident remains under investigation.