The four young women from Spain who died in a car crash Monday in Islamorada were likely wearing their seat belts, but the impact from the RV that rammed into the side of their vehicle was so powerful it left little room inside for survival, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“A car turning sideways has less support on the side of the vehicle than the front and the rear, and there was a lot more intrusion from the RV on the smaller vehicle,” said Lt. Kathleen McKinney, sub-district FHP commander for the Florida Keys.
Their car was left mangled after the crash, and it’s typical in such horrific accidents for investigators to have to look for marks on victims’ bodies to determine if they were wearing seat belts at the time of impact, McKinney said.
The women were vacationing in South Florida and the Florida Keys from various parts of Spain. The FHP identified them as Margarita Cortes-Pardo, 31, from Illes Balears, Spain; Maria Lopez-Bermejo Rossello, 31, and Teresa Sanchez Quetglas, 30, both from from Mallorca, Spain; and Ana Gaitan Diaz, 31, from Cordoba, Spain.
The crash happened shortly before 2 p.m. Monday on the northern end of Tea Table Bridge near mile marker 80 of U.S. 1.
Cortes-Pardo was driving the 2018 Nissan Rogue north on U.S. 1 and stopped to make a left-hand turn. When she did, an Izuzu truck carrying portable toilets driven by Carlos Manso Blanco, 30, from Marathon hit the vehicle from behind, pushing it into the southbound lane.
A 2016 Allegro motor home driven by Daniel Pinkerton, 62, from Alaska was traveling south and hit the right side of the car, pushing it southbound, where it collided with a tree on the side of the road, McKinney said.
“They ran into multiple things,” McKinney said. The women died at the scene.
The FHP is investigating the crash and charges are pending the outcome, but McKinney said it does not appear that Pinkerton was speeding.
McKinney said the FHP worked with the Spanish consulate in Miami to identify the victims and the families of at least two of the victims were expected to fly into Miami and drive down to the Keys Friday.
Pinkerton, his passenger Kim Pinkerton, 62, and Blanco were treated for minor injuries.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204