The Florida Highway Patrol is continuing its investigation of multiple crashes that killed ten people and injured at least 18 on I-75 near Gainesville, FL over the weekend. Drivers encountered an area of extremely low visibility, and a string of collisions occurred. The scene of the disaster stretches one mile long with wreckage everywhere. Fog and smoke from a brushfire at nearby Paynes Prairie made it so difficult for drivers to see that they crashed into the vehicles in front of them one after the other. Witnesses have reported hearing repeated crashes of the vehicles, crying and screaming. One survivor said, “It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind.” Several passenger cars as well as tractor-trailers were involved in the pileup.
A notoriously dangerous intersection on County Road 46-A that has been the scene of at least 60 auto accidents in the last three years is going to be reconfigured, according to Seminole County officials. The intersection of Hartwell Avenue and County Road 46-A in Sanford is near two schools and hundreds of homes and apartments and has been a major concern for area residents for years. One nearby resident, Sonja Reddick, hears and sees accidents at the intersection on a regular basis.
“I’ve witnessed a whole bunch. I can sit in my house and hear, ‘Crash!’ I know what happened,” she said recently after learning about the planned overhaul.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles compiles auto accident data from across the state and charts trends from these data on an ongoing basis. The most recent accident data on the DHSMV site is from 2009 and shows a drop in the crash rate for Orange County. Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham and other Central Florida auto accident lawyers welcomed the news but caution that the accident rate in Orange County is still dangerously high. From a statistical standpoint, Orange County is the fourth-most dangerous county in the state for auto accidents, behind Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough Counties.
Sanford police recently arrested a 22-year-old Sanford man on multiple reckless driving charges after a very high-speed chase through town where the man was caught on radar traveling at 117 miles per hour. After receiving numerous complaints about a man traveling at excessive speeds, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a helicopter, which spotted the man running red lights at the intersections of 13th Street and French Avenue and U.S. Highway 17-92 and Lake Mary Boulevard around 2:15 a.m.
Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with our state’s lack of cell phone legislation for drivers. They are also very familiar with Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham’s stance on this issue. He prefers a zero tolerance policy on cell phone use of any kind while driving and encourages state lawmakers to take decisive action on this issue to save lives. Currently, there are no state laws against texting, surfing the internet or making calls on cell phones while driving. Further, Florida does not allow communities to enact legislation against distracted cell phone driving.
Accident investigators found that a recent fatal auto accident on the Florida Turnpike was caused by a driver who was changing the compact disc in her car. Florida Highway Patrol investigators say the recent accident occurred around 2:50 p.m. at Mile Marker 237, south of Kissimmee-St. Cloud and closed two lanes of the Turnpike for several hours. They say the 63-year-old victim was driving her 2000 Chevrolet SUV southbound on the Turnpike when a 2001 Pontiac Firebird driven by a 55-year-old West Palm Beach woman suddenly veered from the left lane into the right and struck the SUV. The impact caused the SUV to roll over onto its roof and skid a short distance. Although she was wearing a seatbelt, the SUV driver died from her injuries at the scene. Two passengers in the SUV were treated for minor injuries. Charges are pending against the driver of the Firebird, who suffered minor injuries in the crash.
A rear-end accident on State Road 50 near the intersection with Remington Road has claimed the life of a 41-year-old motorcyclist, according to Florida Highway Patrol officers. They say that the victim was in the center westbound lane of Colonial Drive waiting for a red light to change when he was struck from behind by a Honda sport utility vehicle driven by an 18-year-old Clermont man. Accident investigators say the accident occurred around 12:03 a.m. Just as the light changed from red to green, the Honda SUV collided with the rear of the victim’s motorcycle, sending it across the intersection and ejecting the rider.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating whether or not Jeep Grand Cherokees manufactured between 1993 and 2004 should be recalled due to gas tank ruptures in rear-end accidents. Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham is closely following developments in this case as the Jeep that NHTSA is investigating in the case belongs to an Orlando man who died in a recent accident after his Jeep was struck from behind.
NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana recently wrote in an email that “As part of our open defect investigation, N.H.T.S.A. plans to inspect the Jeep Grand Cherokee that was involved in a recent Orlando area crash.”
Five Orlando residents were arrested recently for their roles in an organized insurance fraud ring that staged auto accidents. The Florida Department of Financial Services reports that the suspects solicited people and told them they would receive $1,000 each if they participated in a fake auto accident on July 10, 2010 and filed false medical claims for injuries they supposedly received in the accident. Orlando personal injury attorneys are growing increasingly alarmed about insurance fraud as it has caused insurance premiums in our area to soar and has made it more difficult for them to help clients who have been injured in auto accidents.
Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with the sad story of Heather Hurd. Heather was an Orlando resident who was killed when the driver of a tractor-trailer who was texting on his cell phone while driving slammed into her car and eight others on a Florida highway four years ago. Since then, her parents, Orlando personal injury lawyers and many thousands of concerned Floridians have asked lawmakers to pass tough laws against cell phone use while driving with little success. Heather’s parents, Kim and Russell Hurd, who live in Maryland, have taken a proactive stance against drivers who talk and text while driving.
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: