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Three Victims, including FHP Trooper, Killed in Crash on I-75

The Gainesville Auto Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC discuss a horrific incident that caused the death of three victims. The accident occurred on Saturday May 4, 2014 along Interstate 75, south of Ocala. According to officials, 30-year-old FHP Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard, was investigating a two-vehicle crash that had occurred near Mile Marker 341. Also present at the scene was a tow truck driver, John Duggan, 57, of Levy County, as well as the father of one of the victims involved in the initial crash, George R. Phillips, 55, of Ocala.

Shortly thereafter, another accident, involving 7 vehicles, occurred nearby. Authorities say that following the pileup crash, a pickup truck hauling a trailer traveled off the road and subsequently collided with the trooper’s vehicle. The truck then struck the three—Richards, Duggan, and Phillips—as they stood on a grassy shoulder along the side of the highway. Tragically, Duggan and Richards suffered fatal injuries, and were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Phillips was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center in critical condition, but sadly, died from his injuries later that evening.

The Wrongful Death Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC send our condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of all three victims, as they struggle to grieve over these heartbreaking losses. The nature of this incident compels us to reflect upon the dangers that motorists, or other persons present at the scene, can face following the occurrence of an accident along a busy highway.

When a collision occurs along a highway, or other high-traffic roadway, there are several safety considerations that the parties involved, as well as any other individuals that may be present at the accident scene, need to remember. Safe positioning following an accident requires an assessment of your location, in relation to both the distance from the vehicles involved or present at scene AND your distance from the roadway in general.

Distancing yourself far enough away from the vehicles involved in a crash is important for two primary reasons. First, you never know if a fire, or even explosion, might occur as a result of the impact from an auto collision. More importantly, though, there is always the risk that an oncoming motorist may collide with one or more of the vehicles involved in an accident.

In consideration of the accident discussed herein, the importance of positioning yourself at a safe distance, also applies to any other vehicle present, whether an ambulance, fire truck, police car, or other vehicle. Details regarding the accident, as provided by the Gainesville Sun, stated that approximately 20 minutes prior to the collision that killed the three victims, another vehicle, carrying Phillips’ wife and daughter, had left the scene after the victim told them that “it wasn’t safe to be on the side of the road.” As accident attorneys, we can’t help but think of what may have occurred, had the two remained.

While making sure that you are far enough away from any stationary vehicles along the roadway can be highly vital to your safety, it is equally important that you are also positioned as far away from the roadway as possible. However, ensuring full safety demands that both be taken into consideration in conjunction with one another. The next logical inquiry, then, is where is the safest location for persons present at an accident scene to position themselves? The answer—behind any vehicles present, and at a distance that is furthest from the roadway as is possible—and also making sure that you reposition yourself as necessary if other vehicles arrive.

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