Spring break comes to tragic end with fatal crash

Spring break is a time to blow off steam and get away from the stresses of school work for many students. With thousands of vacation-minded college students flocking to the sunshine state every spring, Florida is a popular destination for spring breakers. A group of students from Duke University most likely had a fun week in mind when they headed south for an outdoor adventure on the Blackwater River. They never thought that the week would end with a horrific car crash.

Sadly, the fun week of camping and canoeing did have a tragic ending just as the two vehicles full of students were heading home on Friday morning. One of their vehicles, a van, was struck by a pick-up truck that crossed the I-10 median. Several of the van’s passengers were treated for minor injuries on the scene, but two of the students were less fortunate. One young man had to be airlifted to a hospital in Pensacola with serious injuries.

A 21 year-old senior, who was attending Duke on a full scholarship, was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. The young woman had a double major in mathematics and computer science. A university spokesman stated that the school assisted the remaining students, who were accompanied by a Duke staff person on their trip, by making flight arrangements home on Saturday.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pickup truck driver was under the influence at the time of the crash with the van full of students. He is being charged with DUI manslaughter for the death of the female student and DUI serious bodily injury for the other victim. In an effort to find closure to such a terrible situation, the family members of the deceased and injured students have the right to seek restitution through civil lawsuits against the drunk driver. Monetary damages awarded from successful wrongful death and personal injury claims could help the victims’ families cover any medical and funeral costs that resulted from the unfortunate incident.

Source: NewsObserver.com, Duke student from Cary dies in car crash after spring break in Florida, No author, March 15, 2014

Tags: Florida, wrongful death

4 people injured in crash involving a dump truck

One moment of poor judgement can have life-changing consequences. Recently, an elementary school teacher and mother of two young children had just such a moment. With her kids in the car, the Florida woman reportedly ran a stop sign, pulling out directly into the path of a dump truck. The truck driver was unable to avoid the crash and struck the woman’s SUV. According to local residents, this is a familiar scene, as the intersection is known for bad accidents.

The violent accident forced both vehicles off the road. Upwards of 30 gallons of fuel began leaking out of the damaged dump truck while fire and rescue personnel cut the woman and her kids out of the mangled Cadillac Escalade. The roadway was closed for more than five hours for rescue operations, clean-up and the crash investigation.

The woman is listed in critical condition at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Her injuries are reportedly serious and include many broken bones and liver damage. The two children were also injured and taken to St. Mary’s for emergency care. The truck driver is receiving treatment for his injuries at the same Florida medical center and is listed in fair condition.

After the conclusion of the investigation, it is possible charges could be filed against the woman. If she is found to have been at fault for causing the terrible crash by ignoring the stop sign, she could be held responsible for the injuries suffered by the truck driver. The truck driver could also file a civil suit against the woman for compensation of lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, Loxahatchee Groves Elementary teacher identifed as mother of two in Acreage crash on Thursday, Hannah Winston, Feb. 28, 2014

Tags: Florida

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