It's the middle of January and most of us are preoccupied with taking
down holiday decorations, putting away presents and implementing New Year's
resolutions. Other families in our area, however, have been left reeling
from the devastation of holiday auto accidents, tragic victims of recklessness,
negligence, and the failure to follow simple traffic rules and laws.
20-year-old Paige Altman of Titusville, her 2-year-old daughter, Kyleigh
Altman, and Cameron Greene, were all killed in an
auto accident on State Road 50 in Orange County, when their vehicle was struck head-on
by 32-year old William Ogletree, who was driving the wrong way and in
the wrong lane. The family was on a December 15 Christmas shopping trip
according to her father and were returning home around 9pm after stopping
for dinner when the accident occurred. Ogletree, who was driving a GMC,
was also killed.
12-year old Natalie New was killed when the vehicle she was traveling in
attempted to change lanes on I95, struck an adjacent car, caromed into
and over the medium and flipped several times. The Florida Highway Patrol
reported that Natalie, one of several family members in the SUV, was not
wearing a seatbelt. The fatal accident occurred around midnight on Christmas
Eve. The vehicle was being driven by her father, Dr Kenneth New, a well-known
In a third fatal auto accident this holiday season, three sisters, 64-year-old
Kay Bertha Ferril, Willie Bell Moragne, 66, and Rose Neal, 56 were crushed
to death by the impact of a head on collision, followed by being hit from
behind by a trailing car. The sisters were less than a mile from home
and returning from a holiday gambling trip to Miami, according to Neal's
husband. Authorities said the crash happened Sunday around 1:30 a.m. in
the northbound lanes of I-95 in Rockledge.
The holidays are an especially vulnerable time to be a driver on Florida
roadways. Wet and cold road conditions, inadequate highway lighting, and
the influence of drugs and alcohol during the month of December and early
January are all contributors to the higher-than-average Florida highway
death-toll. If you plan to drive, do not drink or take drugs, wear your
seat belt, avoid changing lanes unless absolutely necessary. Above all
else, obey the posted speed limits.
The fact is that if these simple rules had been followed by any of the
drivers above who were perpetrators of the accident, it's very possible
these seven lives could have been saved. Their families could have been
spared the sorrowful memory that future Christmas holidays are sure to bring.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a holiday-time
roadway auto accident, please call our firm to speak with someone for
free at 561-444-4440. We can tell you if you have a valid personal injury
claim, and we may be able to secure compensation for your loss or injury.