Articles Posted in Tampa Bay

An elementary student was hit and killed while riding his bike to school in Sarasota Monday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 9-year-old boy was hit at the intersection of Webber Street and Nodosa Drive just before 8 a.m.

Deputies said the boy was riding his bike to Brentwood Elementary School.

As he was following his older sister across the intersection, the driver of a silver Chevy Silverado did not see him and hit him with his truck.

They 9-year-old was transported to Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, where he later died.

Deputies said the driver of the Silverado did stop and is cooperating.

It is quite common for people of all ages to ride their bikes on Florida roadways for fun, exercise or to get to work or school. It is a driver’s responsibility to keep an eye out for bikers and make sure they are operating their vehicles safely. When drivers make a mistake behind the wheel, it is usually the bike rider that suffers the consequences. Due to the lack of structural protection, bikers involved in accidents may suffer from broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, neck and back injuries and even wrongful death.

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A 29-year-old Lakeland man was killed Thursday in a multi-vehicle crash on State Road 60 at the intersection with Grape Hammock Road in Lake Wales.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the 2:45 p.m. crash involved four vehicles, including two semis, which resulted in significant diesel fuel and oil on the roadway and debris.

Deputies said a silver 2012 Volkswagen car being driven by the man Lakeland was heading westbound on SR 60 just west of Grape Hammock Rd at a high rate of speed when it began to hydroplane, as it was raining heavily at the time.

The VW went into the eastbound lane and bounced off of a 2019 red Kia Sorento. The VW rotated and was then struck by an eastbound 1986 Kenworth semi truck pulling a trailer, causing significant damage and killing the Lakeland man.

The semi exited the roadway and came to a rest in a ditch, with the trailer still in the eastbound lane.

Another semi heading westbound struck some debris from the crash and came to a controlled stop.

None of the other drivers were injured.

Hydroplaning happens when road conditions are wet and the surface of the asphalt becomes slippery. The combination of moisture and oil residue on roadways can result in a very slippery surface. For drivers experiencing this, the tires of their vehicle can become separated from the road surface by a thin layer of water, and they can experience a loss of steering, as well as a loss of braking ability and vehicle control. A hydroplane crash can be catastrophic, as this case shows, and affect multiple vehicles and cause significant injuries and property damage.

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A motorcyclist has been pronounced dead after apparently losing control of his bike on U.S. 19 and then being struck by a car.

The crash shut down northbound U.S. 19 just south of 126th Avenue for hours Sunday morning.

Pinellas Park Police believe the 22-year-old motorcyclist was speeding when he lost control and was thrown off the bike.

Police say the driver of a passing vehicle tried to stop traffic, but another vehicle drove through and struck the biker. Another vehicle struck the bike debris.

Police say everyone is cooperating with the investigation. No one else was hurt.

The aftermath of motorcycle accidents can be devastating. While some bike riders can escape a crash with just minor injuries, in many speed-related accidents, the rider can suffer life changing injuries, that may include:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • spinal cord damage
  • paralysis
  • nerve damage
  • facial injuries
  • road rash
  • broken bones
  • internal injuries
  • death

If you’ve been injured or lost someone you love in a motorcycle accident, our Pinellas County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help level the playing field against insurance companies and fight for what you deserve. We handle all motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay no legal fee unless we obtain financial compensation for you through an insurance settlement or jury verdict.

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A 3-year-old boy drowned in a pool Saturday afternoon in Tarpon Springs.

According to Tarpon Springs police, the drowning happened at a home on Stone Creek Drive.  

Authorities believe the incident was accidental.

The case remains under investigation.

Swimming pools can bring lots of fun, but they can also be the source of drowning and near-drowning deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the following statistics:

  • Ten people die every day across the U.S. in drowning accidents, including two children under the age of 14.
  • For every child that dies in a drowning accident, another five children require emergency department care for non-fatal drowning-related injuries.
  • More than half of all drowning victims treated in emergency rooms need hospitalization or specialized care for brain damage.

When a drowning accident occurred in a private backyard pool, many victims and/or their families are hesitant about taking legal action. This is usually because the pool owner is a friend or neighbor. Our Tampa Bay Swimming Pool and Drowning Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want you to know that a person’s homeowner’s insurance, and not their personal assets, typically provides the financial compensation in a drowning accident lawsuit. We are prepared to pursue the compensation that you and your family need and deserve. You will never pay any fees whatsoever unless we secure a financial award for you.

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A 7-year-old boy is in critical condition at the hospital after he was hit by an SUV in Clearwater Tuesday night.

Emergency crews responded to a call at an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Nursery Road a little after 7:30 p.m. Upon arrival, officers on scene were told the boy was riding a bike in the parking lot of the apartment complex when he rode into the path of a Nissan Armada, which ultimately hit the child.

The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation, according to officials in Clearwater.

The boy was taken to Bayfront Health in Saint Petersburg and is in critical condition, according to officials.

When drivers fail to take proper safety precautions and check all areas surrounding their vehicle, parking lots can be the site of very serious or even deadly pedestrian or bicycle accidents. Larger vehicles, especially SUVs and trucks, have several blind spots, so driver’s must pay extra attention to their surroundings. There are far too many preventable accidents that occur every day when driver’s do not take a few extra seconds to check out the area before beginning to drive.

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A woman, who caused a crash that killed three after she suffered a seizure, was in a wheelchair at her pretrial hearing Monday morning.

In August of 2017, prosecutors say the woman was driving over 100 miles per hour when she slammed into a Hyundai, killing a man, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter.

Investigators say the woman did not stick around after the crash. She fled the scene, but did not make it far.

Police caught up with the woman a couple of miles from the crime scene.

While being questioned by detectives, she allegedly said she takes anti-anxiety medication for her seizures.

She was emotional after the crash, even breaking down during a bond hearing.

Fleeing the scene of an accident, or hit and run, is a very serious criminal offense. Under Florida state law, drivers are required to stop and exchange information or render assistance when they are involved in an accident that causes property damage or bodily injury. Even though it is against the law to leave the scene after an accident, data from the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety shows that 11% of all car accidents involve hit-and-run drivers.

When a driver flees the scene of an accident, they leave behind victims without taking any responsibility for their actions. Our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton regularly file personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of those injured or killed in hit-and-run accidents. We can answer any questions you may have regarding your legal options following an incident involving a fleeing driver.

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A bill to make texting while driving a primary offense in Florida is closer than it has ever been to the governor’s desk.

The Florida Senate voted 33 to 5 Thursday to pass the House version of the bill, (HB 107) substituting it for the Senate version, which was broader and prohibited using any wireless communication device.

However, the Senate added an amendment to the House bill that would ban the use of any wireless device while in school zones or work zones. The Florida House will now have to decide what to do with the amended version of the bill.

The bill is the closest Florida has ever gotten to allowing law enforcement to pull over drivers for texting while driving. Currently, texting while driving is a secondary offense, which means officers need another reason to pull over a driver in order to cite them for texting while driving.

If the bill passes the Florida Legislature and is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would go into effect on July 1.

Texting while driving has been identified as the most dangerous form of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 480,000 drivers use cell phones while driving every day. These devices create a huge potential for injuries and fatalities to drivers, passengers, and everyone else sharing the road.

The truth is that most drivers underestimate the time it takes for a car accident to happen. When you are travelling 55 mph, in a matter of just five seconds – the approximate amount of time it takes to read a text – you will have travelled the entire length of a football field. Serious collisions can happen in as little as three seconds.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Lawmakers, law enforcement and families who have faced the danger of distracted driving firsthand are urging all Florida drivers to put the phone down while behind the wheel.

At least 233 Floridians were killed by distracted drivers in 2018, according to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The Florida Highway Patrol says, on average, distracted driving accounts for more than 1,000 crashes in our state every week.

Under current Florida law, texting while driving is only a secondary offense. That means drivers can’t be pulled over for texting alone.

Some, are trying to change that, and Florida’s laws could soon change.

Even though Florida does have a statewide texting ban in place, many people continue to engage in the behavior. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could take a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. While texting behind the wheel is considered the most dangerous distraction, others include:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to or interacting with passengers
  • Personal grooming
  • Reading maps
  • Watching videos
  • Adjusting a radio or other audio player
  • Using a navigation system

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A driverless bus for tourist pickups on Clearwater Beach is in the planning for testing on Mandalay Avenue, according to the city.

The City Council agreed during a recent work session to write a letter of support for the demonstration of a 12-passenger, self-driving vehicle along Mandalay. The letter will be included in an application for a federal grant to run the project.

The federal government in December announced $60 million in grants to entities that test the “safe integration of automated driving systems” into the nation’s road systems.

The proposed test, a collaboration between the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, engineering firm Stantec and the city, would run between October and January, before the height of the winter tourist season kicks in.

The proposed one-mile test route would run a loop from the Pier 60 area north on Mandalay to Juanita Way. A technologist monitoring the onboard systems can grab the wheel to go around stopped delivery vehicles and avoid other mishaps.

Onboard cameras will constantly record surrounding traffic and all incidents.

The Clearwater police and fire departments are on it on the project, too and have discussed using a lot adjacent to Fire Station 46 at 534 Mandalay Ave. to serve as a staging area for the vehicle, which resembles a small, square bus.

The location provides electricity to recharge the vehicle at night and access to wireless Internet, which lets researchers download data collected by the vehicle’s systems during the day.

Wifi is vital to the driverless vehicle trials on public roadways. Two competing systems are being tested in the country: One would have driverless vehicles depending on sensors along the route to guide them; the other system constantly downloads data into the vehicle to avoid collisions and make such decisions as where to turn and where to stop.

There are limits to the vehicle’s abilities, however.

It runs about 12 mph, and to ensure it runs all day without a recharge, the route it follows can’t be longer than a mile and it also can’t negotiate the traffic circle on Clearwater Beach.

The buses can still get in accidents. That’s what happened on the first day the Navya bus was tested in Las Vegas, according to city officials.

A delivery truck driven by a human driver backed into the shuttle just a few hours after a city ceremony launching the test in November 2017.

According to extensive media reporting on the incident, no one on the bus or in the truck was injured. Las Vegas Metro Police cited the delivery truck driver, and said the French-built, self-driving vehicle was not at fault. City officials wrote that the “shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident.”

Driverless cars or autonomous driving vehicles are no longer a thing of the future. They were designed with  cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence and algorithms to replace human drivers and eliminate human error, which is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, car accidents and bus accidents. However, like everything else, nothing is perfect and these driverless cars can be involved in collisions. Because driverless car accident lawsuits are relatively new, these claims involve thorough investigation to determine liability and a tenacity to initiate a new venture when it comes to pursuing justice for accident victims.

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An 82-year-old Winter Haven man is in the hospital while Florida Highway Patrol troopers search for the driver who caused him to wreck his motorcycle.

On April 13 at around 5 p.m., the man was on his red Harley Davidson motorcycle, traveling south on U.S. 17 in Wauchula, Florida.

At the same time, FHP says the driver of a pickup truck was leaving the Wauchula Supermarket parking lot. Troopers say the driver crossed through the southbound lanes, toward the median, violating the motorcycle’s right of way. This caused the man to crash his motorcycle into the left side of the truck.

A man who sells fruit by the road witnessed it all. There were other witnesses as well.

Troopers hope with so many witnesses, they will find the driver quickly.

FHP says the driver of the truck took off, traveling north on U.S. 17.

The motorcyclist was rushed to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with critical injuries. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 239-938-1800 or Crime Stoppers.

While it may seem unimaginable that someone would hit another human being with their vehicle and simply drive away, without stopping to see if the individual needs help, it happens every day across the state of Florida. Negligent or careless drivers usually flee the scene of an accident they caused in a state of panic because they don’t have a valid driver’s license or insurance, they were driving intoxicated, or they simply don’t want to face the consequences of their actions.

Fleeing the scene of an accident is a very serious offense, especially when another person suffers injuries. Drivers who hit a motorcyclist and then leave the scene without exchanging identifying information or rendering aid are subject to ticketing, fines, and possible jail time.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a hit and run motorcycle accident in the Tampa Bay area, our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Even if you have no idea who hit you, we can put our resources to work for you and investigate your claim and work to identify the at-fault party. Your consultation is free and offered on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.

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