Woman ticketed in Anna Maria Island Bridge crash followed by 2-hour gridlock

A Bradenton woman driving a 2017 Cadillac was ticketed after causing a crash Jan. 29 on the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

Traffic came to a standstill for about two hours at 11:30 a.m. after the Cadillac swerved into oncoming traffic, sideswiping vehicles and causing a domino effect on the bridge between Perico Island and Holmes Beach.

The driver, Katherine Jo Hillabrand, 51, of Bradenton, was issued a notice for failing to drive in a single lane.

Hillabrand was transported by ambulance to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton and was in stable condition, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Greg Bueno wrote in a Feb. 4 email.

According to an FHP report, the Cadillac struck a 2013 Dodge, which was moved before deputies arrived, and no skid marks were visible.

A witness to the accident, Bobby Wheeler of Bradenton, told The Islander at least three people were in a Dodge Journey.

“That car was a mess,” Wheeler said of the Dodge, adding he saw a man from the vehicle “who looked pretty bad,” and heard two females crying and moaning inside the vehicle.

Wheeler said he was traveling west immediately behind the Cadillac when, at about 20 yards onto the bridge, he saw it cross the centerline, sideswipe vehicles traveling east, spin around and hit the Dodge.

The Cadillac was facing west in the eastbound lane at final rest, according to the FHP report.

An eastbound GMC left the scene after being sideswiped, Wheeler said, adding he had to back up his car to avoid being hit by the GMC. He then drove off the bridge and waited for a while because he was “shaking so bad.”

“The car ahead of me caused the entire accident,” Wheeler said.

“I called 911 as quick as I could,” and it took 8-10 minutes for EMS to arrive, he added.

According to the court record, Hillabrand was fined $166 for the traffic violation.