OCALA — A Florida Highway Patrol trooper mourning a colleague killed after being struck by a vehicle wants Gov. Rick Scott to reconsider a bill that would raise the highway speed limit to 75 mph.
Scott joined hundreds of law enforcement officers at the funeral Thursday for Master Trooper Chelsea Richard. She died along with two others May 3 after they were struck by a vehicle while standing alongside Interstate 75 near a traffic accident.
The Ocala Star-Banner reports that during the funeral, Trooper Tod G. Cloud told Scott that the Florida Legislature's approval of a bill that would raise the speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph "wasn't a bright idea."
He said that the law enforcement job he feared the most was working on an accident on I-75 because people "do not drive with common sense."
Cloud said he also would like to see a law that would drop the speed limit to 55 mph when highways are wet. I-75 was wet from recent rains when Richard died.
"On behalf of 19 million Floridians, my heart goes out to you," Scott told Richard's family. "I have daughters the same age. I just can't imagine."
Richard, 30, was remembered as a devoted mother to her 4-year-old son and a dedicated trooper. FHP Chaplain Wayne Hunter said Richard's boyfriend, FHP Sgt. Jamie Mulverhill, had planned to propose to her the day she died.
Richard had been a trooper for nine years. She is one of 45 troopers to die in the line of duty in the FHP's 75-year history.
The investigation into the crash that killed Richard, tow truck driver John Duggan and George Phillips is ongoing. A memorial service was held Friday for Phillips. Duggan's funeral will be May 17.