The Automobile Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC take note of a horrific series of events that occurred shortly before midnight on Friday, April 4, 2014, along Interstate 75 in Hamilton County. Authorities say the incident was set into motion with a head-on collision between two vehicles, which then caused several secondary accidents.
According to FHP, 91-year-old Ernest Lee Holmes, of High Springs was operating a 1993 Buick Century in the wrong direction of an inside lane along I-75 North, near U.S. 129. At this same time, and traveling in the proper direction in an inside lane of northbound I-75, was a 2013 Ford Expedition being operated by 55-year-old Peter J. Linek, of Ormand Beach. Devastatingly, Linek, who surely could not have anticipated that he might encounter a southbound vehicle on the northbound side of the highway, collided with Holmes’ vehicle.
Thereafter, three additional northbound vehicles were involved in secondary accidents, as a result of the initial head-on collision caused by Holmes. Traveling in the inside lane was a Honda Odyssey, operated by 35-year-old Laura Baumgart, as well as a Ford SUV, operated by 67-year-old Robert J. Bolt. In addition, a Greyhound bus with 42 passengers aboard, driven by 62-year-old Alvin A. Gaston, was traveling in the center lane.
In the horrific aftermath of the incident, two were left dead, and thirteen others injured. Authorities say that both Linek and Holmes, the motorists involved in the head-on collision, suffered fatal injuries. Fortunately, there were no passengers in either Linek’s or Holmes’ vehicles.
Despite the fact that there were 5 passengers, between the ages of 3 and 11, in one of the vehicles involved in the secondary collision, miraculously no one was injured, according to a press release following the incident. Unfortunately more than a dozen passengers aboard the greyhound bus sustained minor injuries, as a result of the subsequent bus accident, and were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
It was unknown as to whether alcohol was a factor in the accident at the time of the press release. However, authorities say that the three motorists involved in the secondary collisions, each voluntarily consented to their blood being drawn at the accident scene.
This accident serves as an eerie reminder of the dangers that motorists face each day as they travel along Florida’s hectic and unpredictable roadways. Consider each unsuspecting motorist or vehicle occupant. It seems fairly reasonable to assume that if you travel in one direction along a divided highway, that no other vehicles on your side of the roadway will be traveling in the opposite direction.
As Accident attorneys, we are drawn to the contemplation of alternate scenarios—even unthinkable events involving numerous children. Though Linek was the unfortunate motorist to meet his demise as a result of coming upon Holmes’ wayward vehicle, this incident could have been very different, if the head-on collision involved either the bus transporting 42 passengers, or vehicle carrying 5 children. This holds true, not only for the individuals involved in the initial and secondary accidents, but also for any other motorist traveling in the vicinity at that time.
The Wrongful Death Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC send our heartfelt condolences to the family members of Peter Linek and Earnest Holmes, as they cope with the tragedy of an unexpected loss of a loved one.