So much alcohol, 30,000 pounds to be exact, was spilled on the highway after an accident that officials feared the road would catch fire. The threat of fire from the spilled alcoholic beverages was enough to close the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Florida for more than seven hours as cleanup crews waited for the alcohol to evaporate. The situation could be found humorous if the truck accident did not involve the death of the unfortunate motorist who was allegedly forced off the bridge by a semi truck and into the five-foot deep waters of the Alafia River.
The truck caught the bumper of the victim’s BMW as the truck driver tried to pass. This led to a chain reaction with the semi truck turning over, spilling its cargo of alcohol onto the roadway and sending the victim, a 42-year-old man, to his death in the shallow water below the Alafia River bridge. The truck driver was treated for minor injuries at Tampa General Hospital and released. No charges have been filed at this time.
The investigation into the truck accident is ongoing and has so far revealed that the truck driver has had 27 infractions in the last two decades on his driving record, including the suspension of his license six times. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, past driving records are not taken into account when issuing a commercial license. The applicant needs only to have a valid license at the time of application and pass a written and vehicle skills test.
There are no laws in Florida preventing a person with a prior terrible driving record from receiving a commercial driver’s license. However, if, after the truck accident investigation is complete, the driver is found to be at fault, the family of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A successfully litigated lawsuit may provide the family with monetary compensation and possible peace of mind.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, Truck driver in fatal Alafia River wreck has dozens of driving infractions, Colleen Wright and Claire Wiseman, Feb. 12, 2014