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 local neurosurgeon.
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. 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.