Body found in Tampa Bay may be driver of SUV involved in crash on Howard Frankland Bridge

A white 2006 Saturn SUV was pulled from Tampa Bay Wednesday morning. Pinellas County Sheriff’s Marine Unit found the remains of a man near the Howard Frankland Bridge Thursday morning.

Florida Highway Patrol says the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Marine Unit found the remains of a man near the Howard Frankland Bridge Thursday morning.

The body may belong to the driver of a 2006 Saturn SUV that plunged into Tampa Bay during a crash on Aug. 28. FHP has identified the man as Hiran Reis Vaz, 53, of Tampa.

Crews removed the SUV from Tampa Bay the morning of Aug. 28; however, no occupant(s) were recovered.

FHP reported it was investigating a two-vehicle crash at the 34 milepost, southbound, on the Howard Frankland Bridge about 8:18 a.m. Aug. 28. All lanes were closed; however, as of about 10:50 a.m., two inside lanes of southbound I-275 were open. At that time, crews were working to recover a submerged SUV.

FHP troopers provided an update to their continuing investigation about 1:18 p.m. and cautioned that details are subject to change as additional evidence is uncovered.

Any witnesses to this incident are asked to contact the FHP by calling 813-558-1800 or *FHP (*347).

Latest information from FHP says a 2015 Ford F150 driven by Wilson Dennis Rowland, 30, of Tampa had been traveling southbound on I-275 in the inside lane near the 34 milepost about 7 a.m. A 2006 Saturn SUV, driver unknown, was traveling southbound on I-275 at a high rate of speed, overtaking the truck.

The Saturn then began to tailgate the truck before making a lane change to the inside center lane. The truck then made a lane change in front of the Saturn.

Troopers say the Saturn made another lane change back to the inside lane and attempted to pass the Ford truck. As the Saturn was attempting to pass, the truck made another lane change into the path of the Saturn.

As a result, the rear left side of the truck collided with the front right side of Saturn. Post-impact, the truck rotated counter-clockwise into the center concrete wall while the Saturn was redirected to the outside shoulder, rotating clockwise and overturning multiple times.

The truck came to final rest northbound and blocking the inside center and outside center lanes of southbound I-275. The Saturn collided with the outside concrete barrier, traveled over the wall and into Tampa Bay.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Coast Guard were continuing to search for the missing occupant(s) of the SUV on Thursday morning.

Revised to add identity of body found by Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies in Tampa Bay.