The information was included this week when the State Attorney’s Office finally released data about the Aug. 4 accident that killed three teenage boys in a Jeep Cherokee. The traffic homicide investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol reported that no flagman was present to warn oncoming traffic about the presence of the loader in the roadway.
Troopers had previously reported that all three teenagers were believed to be intoxicated and that the 18-year-old driver had a blood-alcohol level of .251, more than three times the legal limit.
Authorities have determined the operator of the front-end loader had no drugs or alcohol in his system. The operator worked for Sheltra and Son Construction of Indiantown, which was widening Cove Road west of U.S. 1. The front-end loader had dropped a load of dirt on the south shoulder of the road and was stopped in the eastbound lane at the time of the crash.
Troopers who questioned the work crew were told the front-end loader was not required to have a flagman. However, the company was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for four “serious violations” at the work site. Those citations were for hazards workers were exposed to and were not related to the accident.
Accidents at road construction sites are a common occurrence in Florida, as are accidents anywhere that the normal flow of traffic is interrupted. The fact that these teenagers were reportedly under the influence at the time of the crash certainly complicates matters. But it does not mean their families would not have a wrongful death case against the construction company. If a 40,000 pound piece of machinery had not been parked in the middle of a dark road, the kids may well have made it home safe to their families. A Port St. Lucie injury lawyer should always be contacted when a motorist is seriously injured or killed in a car accidents at a highway construction zone.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.