Early on Saturday morning, the 29-year-old Van Pelt and the 43-year-old Higgins were traveling down State Road 60 inside of Van Pelt’s car. It is believed that Vanpelt, a resident of Zephyrhills, was behind the wheel of his Dodge as the two men made their way down the road. The primary issue in the men’s trajectory was that they were driving down the road in the wrong direction.
As the two men neared Peavine Road, the situation became drastically worse when they found themselves driving directly toward a semi-truck. It was reported by the Florida Highway Patrol that the two men collided head-on with the semi-truck at close to 3:45 in the morning. While it is not known how fast the cars in this case were going, even moderate speeds can be devastating in any car accident. Head-on collisions, however, are undoubtedly the worst. Because both vehicles are traveling in opposite directions, the actual speed with which they collide is equal to the sum of their individual speeds. Therefore, if two cars collide head-on while both are traveling at only 25 mph, the resulting impact is the same as if the vehicles had crashed into a solid object going 50mph.
Police and paramedics responded to the crash and began to pull people from their mangled cars. Despite the work of the paramedics, Van Pelt was not able to survive the severity of his injuries and he was declared dead at the scene of the crash. Higgins was alive when the emergency response crews reached him, and he was taken via ambulance to Osceola Regional Medical Center. The report indicated that Higgins was in critical condition when the hospital admitted him. It is not clear whether or not his condition has stabilized or if he is still being treated as a critical case.
The driver of the semi-truck involved only suffered some minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.
While it is known that all three of the individuals involved were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, it is unclear if the investigating authorities have ruled out alcohol as a contributing factor to the incident.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a vehicle accident, call toll-free at 1-888-FLA-Auto (1-888-352-2886).
Verdicts & Settlements
- Rear End Car Accident:
$3.75 Million Recovery
- Semi-Truck Accident:
$1.5 Million Recovery
- Van Rollover:
$1.2 Million Wrongful Death Recovery
- Rear End Bus Accident:
- Truck Collides with Cow: