Articles Posted in Tampa Bay

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).

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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.

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The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash involving a vehicle leaving the roadway in the Feather Sound area and striking two pedestrians on the adjacent sidewalk, killing one of them, according to reports.

Investigators believe the crash occurred around 5:02 p.m. The driver of the vehicle reportedly failed to negotiate a turn while driving west on Feather Sound Drive.

As a result, the man’s vehicle reportedly left the road and drove onto the sidewalk, where it struck two pedestrians, a 67-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. The vehicle continued into a ditch before striking a concrete retaining wall.

The 67-year-old man was killed at the scene as a result of the crash, troopers said. The woman sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized.

The driver sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

No further information has been released at this time.

According to the National Highway Traffic Association, a person is harmed in a pedestrian accident every 8 minutes. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, it is very important to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible. It is common for insurance companies to try to place the blame on pedestrians, or make lowball payout offers. Your best defense from unethical practices like this is to consult with our Tampa Bay area Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We know the law and have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies.

It is important to not wait too long after the accident to file a claim. Sadly, we see this a lot where victims wait too long to speak with an injury attorney and due to statutes of limitations on injury and wrongful death claims, are no longer able to file a claim. The sooner you pursue legal action for your pedestrian accident, the greater your chance of receiving full and fair compensation.

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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.

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A pedestrian was hit and killed Tuesday evening while crossing Hillsborough Avenue.

The crash occurred around 7 p.m. east of Orient Road.

Troopers said the 31-year-old man from Jacksonville walked into the path of a Chevy pickup truck and was hit.

The pedestrian died at the scene.  

According to the report, no charges are pending at this time.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Florida ranked number two overall in the number of total pedestrian deaths in 2017. Florida is also the fifth worst for pedestrian deaths when the rankings were adjusted for population.

The total number of Floridians hit by cars increased from 2016 to 2017: 299 pedestrians were hit from January through June of 2016, compared to 303 in 2017. Per 100,000 people, Florida came in fifth, behind Arizona, New Mexico, Delaware, and Louisiana. Florida’s ranking of 1.43 deaths was only 0.05 points behind number two New Mexico (0.48).

While these statistics are alarming, they also show just how vulnerable pedestrians are to cars sharing the roadway. Pedestrian accidents can easily result in catastrophic injuries such as paralysis, broken bones, permanent disability and even death. Our Tampa Bay Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton routinely help pedestrian accident victims receive compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced in addition to compensation for medical bills, disability, lost wages and wrongful death of a family member.

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Two females riding a motor scooter were killed in a crash Saturday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened at about 4:30 p.m. at Florida Avenue and Garland Court.

Troopers said two people were on a motor scooter traveling westbound on Garland Court when it tried to turn left onto Florida Avenue and entered the path of a Chevy pickup truck.

Both occupants of the scooter were ejected. One died at the scene of the crash, and other later died at Tampa General Hospital.

No further information is available at this time.

Many people believe that because motor scooters are small and do not go very fast, that these types of accidents do not deliver serious injuries. However, when motor scooter accidents occur, injuries can be as minimal as scrapes and bruises and as severe as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and even death.

Motor scooters are light and slow, which makes motor scooters even more dangerous on the roads because there are times when they cannot keep up with the flow of traffic. This not only poses a danger to the operator and the passenger of the motor scooter, but also to the other drivers  sharing the road.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a motor scooter accident in the Tampa Bay area, our Tampa Bay Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you act against the at-fault party and hold them accountable for their negligent actions. We will make sure that you are afforded all of the relief you deserve.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A driver was killed and a passenger injured in an early Friday crash in Hillsborough County.

It happened shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Falkenburg Road.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said a 30-year-old Lakeland resident was driving northbound and failed to noticed that Falkenburg Road ends at Interstate 4.

The vehicle struck a barrier wall head-on, authorities said.

The driver was not buckled up and died at the scene.

The passenger, a 34-year-old woman, was taken to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition.

Anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle must exercise reasonable care to obey the traffic laws of the State of Florida and  take reasonable measures to avoid an accident. When drivers fail to do so, this may constitute negligence, which in turn could give rise to a claim for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of income, and other damages resulting from the accident.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence or carelessness of another, you may be able to receive financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Florida law places time restrictions on when a claim, or a personal injury lawsuit, can be filed to recover damages from the car accidents so it is important to contact our Tampa Bay Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible after your accident. We will promptly investigate the accident and determine if you have a legitimate claim to recover for your damages.

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