Auto Accident Kills Spring Hill Woman

An auto accident on a Sunday afternoon shortly before Christmas claimed the life of a Spring Hill woman.

Cecilia Diaz, 75, was killed when another driver ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. She was turning left onto Mariner Boulevard from Landover Boulevard when police say Gregory Gerard Sanchez, 26, struck the left side of her Mitsubishi with his 2004 Ford Ranger.

The patrol said that Sanchez had been traveling northbound on Mariner and failed to stop at a red light.

Diaz was returning home following the afternoon service at St. Frances Cabrini Church. She died at the scene, and Diaz had slight injuries.

Authorities said the crash was still under investigation, but they do not believe alcohol was a factor.

According to police records, Sanchez, also a resident of Spring Hill, was charged in May with driving under the influence and arrested, but that charge were dropped in July. He is also named as a defendant in a civil suit in Hernando County for “auto negligence.”

Diaz, a native of Puerto Rico was deeply religious according to family members. She attended church weekly and had been planning her yearly Christmas Eve family dinner of traditional Puerto Rican dishes.

Diaz left Puerto Rico for Connecticut after graduating from high school and moved to Tampa in 1980. She was formerly employed as a teacher’s aide at Tampa’s Woodbridge Elementary School.

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