Articles Posted in Car Accidents

A scooter rider was seriously injured early Tuesday morning in a crash that closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 near Fletcher Avenue for an hour, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 32-year-old scooter driver was slowly operating the scooter in the southbound outside lane at about 6 a.m. when he was struck from behind by a 2011 Toyota Sienna. The driver was attempting to pass the scooter, troopers said.

The impact threw the man from the scooter, troopers said, and he landed on outside grass shoulder.

He was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of what was reported to be serious injuries, troopers said. The Toyota driver was not injured in the crash.

Both were cited. The scooter driver received a citation for impeding traffic while the driver of the Toyota was cited for careless driving, the Highway Patrol said.

Careless driving is defined as failing to drive a vehicle in a careful and practical manner. Careless driving can include:

  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield properly
  • Improper passing of another vehicle
  • Improper lane changing
  • Running a red light
  • Speeding
  • Failure to stop for an emergency vehicle
  • Making an improper turn

Driving carelessly can result in a serious car accident. Sometimes motorists drive carelessly with the intent of not getting caught and other times motorists do this without even realizing what they may be doing. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to take the following precautions to avoid driving carelessly:

  • Always use a turn signal when changing lanes or making a turn
  • Obey all traffic signals and signs
  • Avoid being distracted by a mobile device
  • Do not drive aggressively and tailgate the vehicle in front of you

It is up to all motorists sharing the road to drive properly, so when even just one person fails to follow the rules of the road, serious accidents can occur.

Continue reading

A man has been arrested on DUI charges after an overnight Interstate 4 crash involving a motorcycle.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 23-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash on I-4 just east of State Road 574.

Troopers said the crash happened at 1:45 a.m. when the motorcycle and a 2018 Dodge Ram truck were both traveling eastbound on I-4.

Authorities said the motorcyclist tried to overtake the truck but collided with the back of the truck. The motorcyclist was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died.  

Following the crash, the truck left the scene and turned northbound on Interstate 75 then turned back southbound on I-75 until stopped by troopers near milepost 268.

The 39-year-old was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of the crash, driving with a suspended license, and DUI.

Drunk drivers have delayed reaction times and impaired judgement, which makes them a huge risk to motorcyclists sharing the roadway. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to keeping the roads and highways in the Tampa Bay area safe for motorcyclists. We know that injured riders often suffer significant physical, emotional and financial burdens, and we can help to lift these stresses by obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

Continue reading

A Good Samaritan died Sunday morning when he was struck while trying to help a man who had been injured in a previous traffic crash on I-75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The 59-year-old man died at the scene.

A 31-year-old woman was one of the drivers taken to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition. Another 24-year-old driver was taken to St. Joseph’s South with minor injuries.

The third driver, a 32-year-old man, was taken to Tampa General with minor injuries. Troopers said he had been drinking.

The crash happened about 4:39 a.m. on southbound I-75 at about Milepost 254 in Hillsborough County.

Troopers said the third driver was driving a 2018 Toyota Tacoma south on I-75 when, for an unknown reason, he stopped in the inside travel lane. The first driver was driving a 2003 Buick LeSabre, and was unable to see or stop in time and collided with the Tacoma. Both vehicles came to rest in the travel lanes.

The Good Samaritan, who had been driving south on I-75, stopped and extricated the third driver from the wreckage and moved him to the inside shoulder to provide medical aid, troopers said.

The second driver, who was driving a 2010 Toyota Camry, failed to see the Tacoma and the LeSabre. The Camry collided with the Tacoma, which rotated and hit the Good Samaritan, killing him.

After the impact between the Camry and the Tacoma, the Tacoma burst into flames.

Charges are pending, troopers said.

According to the Florida Good Samaritan Act, “any person, including those licensed to practice medicine” who willingly, and in good faith, provides emergency care or treatment to another in an emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of such aid or treatment.”

This story highlights the need to exercise caution when rendering aid during a car crash. While helping others when they are injured is something most people want to help with, it is equally important to take your own safety into account first and foremost before putting yourself in harm’s way.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help Good Samaritans stay safe and still help crash victims:

  • Park a safe distance from the crash. We recommend parking at least 100 feet from the crash site, so that first responders have room to work. This also allows you to assess the scene from a good distance to make sure that your own safety is not at risk.
  • Use your hazard lights to tell oncoming traffic that they should proceed with caution.
  • Call 911. Never make the assumption that someone else has notified 911 of the accident.
  • Assess the situation from a distance, and look for victims who may have been thrown from their vehicles and any other hazards, such as leaking fuel, broken glass and downed power lines.
  • Assist victims only if it is safe to do so. You can approach victims, but don’t attempt to move them unless the car is on fire or there’s some other imminent danger. Sometimes just talking to them, calming and reassuring them that you’ve called 911 is a big help.

Continue reading

A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that happened in January.

The 36-year-old is charged with leaving the scene of a crash without rendering aid and driving with a suspended license, among other charges.

The crash happened January 17 off Charlie Taylor Road near U.S. Highway 92 in Plant City.

A 57-year-old was hit by a 2006 Hyundai Tucson, according to the Plant City Police Department. He died at the scene.

The vehicle was recovered in Lakeland and impounded.

Police said a follow-up investigation led them to the man, who was located in Connecticut. He returned to Florida, was interviewed by police, and arrested.

He was taken to the Orient Road Jail.

The AAA Newsroom recently released a report titled “Hit-and-Run Deaths Hit Record High,” that shows there have been approximately 682,000 hit and run accidents every year since 2006. That’s a shocking daily average of roughly 1,868 hit and run crashes in the United States. When spread across the year, that figure amounts to nearly six deaths every day. The highest fatality rates were found in Florida, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Our Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled numerous auto accident claims involving fatal hit and run crashes. We have extensive experience with uninsured driver claims, so we evaluate the crash to determine whether financial compensation may be available through UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) coverage, which many Florida drivers elect to carry in addition to mandatory insurance coverage like PIP (Personal Injury Protection).

Continue reading

A 66-year-old motorcyclist in Westchase has died after a van struck him Saturday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

According to deputies, the motorcyclist was driving a 2007 FJR motorcycle on southbound Race Track Road at the intersection of Countryway Boulevard.

The man reportedly stopped behind a silver Nissan Rogue at the intersection around 9:10 a.m., when the driver of a white Chrysler Town and Country van approached, striking both the motorcyclist and the Rogue.

The Sheriff’s Office said the motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle into the middle of the intersection.

He was airlifted to St. Joseph’s main hospital and was pronounced dead.

Deputies do not believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash.

Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, and they can happen for many different reasons. In many cases, a driver’s negligence or recklessness is directly responsible for causing a motorcycle accident. Many drivers simply fail to pay adequate attention to motorcyclists sharing the road. This can deliver devastating consequences to a motorcyclist involved in an accident.

After a serious motorcycle accident has left you or a loved one seriously injured or killed, our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can review the details of the accident free of charge and discuss whether you are entitled to seek financial compensation. Once we have all the facts, we can help you understand what the best steps to take next are.

Continue reading

A passenger in a taxi was killed and several others were hurt in a chain-reaction crash Sunday afternoon in which alcohol played a factor, according to St. Petersburg Police.

The crash happened at 38th Avenue N and 49th Street N and closed parts of the intersection for hours.

A 2009 Crown Victoria operating as an Express Taxi, was heading south on 49th Street N with a passenger, when the taxi rear-ended a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe that was stopped at 38th Avenue N.

The Tahoe was pushed into and hit two vehicles: a 2017 Ford Escape and 2017 Chevrolet SS. The Escape then struck a 2014 Kia Optima, and the Optima was pushed into a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, police said.

Three people in various vehicles other than the taxi were taken to hospitals for non life-threatening injuries.

The occupants of the taxi were not wearing seat belts, according to police investigators. They incurred serious injuries and were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, where the passenger died.

Police said “alcohol played a role in the crash” but didn’t provide more specifics.

The investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending, they said.

Drunk drivers remain the biggest cause of traffic fatalities both in Florida and the U.S. Nearly 11,000 people, about one-third of the nation’s 37,000-plus traffic fatalities, died in 2016 and 2017 due to drivers operating under the influence of alcohol.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and property damage. In the event that a loved one was killed by an intoxicated driver, you may also be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Our St. Petersburg Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have considerable experience helping victims of motor vehicle accidents, including those that were the result of drunk driving, pursue legal action for damages. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident, including scouring accident reports and police records, in order to determine the responsible party and if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Continue reading

Another bill has been filed for the 2019 legislative session that would allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, filed a measure (HB 107) on Monday that would prohibit drivers from talking on cell phones that are not hands-free devices and would make enforcement a “primary” offense.

Currently, texting while driving in Florida is illegal, but it is enforced as a “secondary” offense. That means motorists can only be cited if they are stopped for other infractions, such as running stop signs or speeding.

Under Toledo’s bill, police would be able to stop motorists for texting or talking on hand-held cell phones.

A Senate bill (SB 76) similar to Toledo’s new proposal has been filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, for the 2019 session, which starts in March.

Under the Toledo and Simpson bills, drivers would be able to communicate on hands-free devices.

Also, motorists would be allowed to use hand-held devices for such purposes as reporting emergencies, getting safety-related information or for navigation. Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, also has filed a similar measure (HB 45) for the 2019 session.

Driving safely on busy Tampa Bay roads can be challenging under ideal circumstances, but it is impossible to do when you’re distracted. Driving while texting, talking on the phone, eating, or reading has become disturbingly common. Engaging in these unsafe driving practices behind-the-wheel can lead to drivers causing serious, even fatal, auto accidents.

Distracted driving can be deadly. Many experts suggest that cell phone distractions are the single biggest reason that fatal accidents on US roads has increased over the past three years.

Victims of distracted driving accidents deserve compensation for the injuries they suffer. If you’re a Tampa Bay resident who has been hurt in a distracted driving crash, our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Continue reading

Local leaders, and lawmakers, will meet on Monday afternoon in Tampa to announce new legislation aimed at making roads safer.  

The proposed legislation was written in response to a Tampa family’s pleas to crackdown on distracted driving.  

On September 25, 2016, a family was stopped in a traffic jam on Interstate 75 when a distracted driver slammed into the back of their SUV going more than 100 miles per hour.  

Investigators say that driver was so absorbed in his phone that he never looked up and did not even attempt to brake.  

The impact of the crash killed their 9-year-old son instantly.

The family will join Representative Jackie Toledo on Monday, along with Hillsborough County School officials and local law enforcement officials, to introduce a bill that strengthens the policy on distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a serious problem, not only in Tampa, but across the country. Distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone, according to the NHTSA. Another 391,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes.

Texting, talking, checking social media, or inputting an address in your GPS are all forms of distracted driving. When you take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, you put yourself and everyone else sharing the road with you at risk.

Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are passionate about holding drivers responsible for the consequences of distracted driving in car accidents. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a collision caused by a distracted driver, we can help with your lawsuit.

Continue reading

A 49-year-old Tampa Bay area woman has been charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident following a wrong-way crash at Gunn Highway and Isbell Lane just before 9 p.m. Monday.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the woman was driving a Jeep Wrangler south in the northbound lanes of Gunn Highway when she encountered a Nissan Altima.

The Altima swerved into the painted median to avoid the crash with the woman, but was struck on the passenger side by the Jeep.

The front axle of the Jeep Wrangler snapped, and the vehicle eventually came to a stop in the road near North Mobley Road.

Deputies arrived and found the woman sitting in a gray sedan across from the Jeep. Her wallet was located on the Jeep’s front passenger seat and her flip flops were under the Jeep’s brake pedal. Deputies said the woman smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, bloodshot, watery eyes and was unable to stand on her own.

Deputies said field sobriety tests were not conducted due to the woman’s extreme level of intoxication. She refused to provide breath samples. She was transported to the Orient Road Jail and charged with driving under the influence with property damage and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

According to the Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles, the majority of wrong-way collisions result in vehicles being hit head-on – 81% of all wrong-way fatalities are head-on collisions.

Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for wrong-way crashes. A study by the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles found Florida had 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way driving crashes in the state: Hillsborough ranked fourth, Pinellas placed sixth and Pasco took eighth.

In Tampa Bay specifically, 2014 was a particularly deadly year for wrong-way crashes. A Christmas Day wrong-way crash that killed three people in Pinellas County and there were at least eight other reports of wrong-way drivers that year.

Continue reading

A 22-year-old man has been charged in a hit-and-run Tuesday morning that left a pedestrian critically injured.

The man was booked into the Pinellas County jail and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury and careless driving.

Police said the 59-year-old woman was crossing Drew Street in a crosswalk when she was struck by a car driven by the man, who was making a left turn from southbound Fort Harrison onto eastbound Drew Street.

Police said he initially stopped and called 911, then left the scene after telling fire rescue workers he had found the woman laying in the street.

The man was later tracked down by officers and he admitted to striking the pedestrian. He said he was distracted by looking at his phone trying to pick out music when he made the turn and hit the woman. He added that he was scared and left the scene.

The victim was transported to Bay Front Hospital with serious injuries.

Cell phones keep us connected, and some people need to be connected at all times, even when driving. Conversations, texts, playlists, emails just cannot wait long enough for the driver to reach their destination. It is no wonder that accidents involving distracted drivers are on the rise. If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving accident, speak with our Clearwater Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton so that we can advise you of your legal rights and how to obtain just compensation for your injuries.

Florida state law defines hit-and-run accidents, or leaving the scene of an accident, as a criminal offense when the driver fails to stop and identify him or herself to the involved parties. If there are serious injuries, property damage or death, the driver must remain at the scene.

Continue reading

Contact Information