Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wesley Chapel man charged with DUI in I-75 crash that injures six people

John Hegarty, 47, was arrested on DUI and other charges.

John Hegarty, 47, was arrested on DUI and other charges.

WESLEY CHAPEL — The three young men were trying to be chivalrous.

Three female friends had called for help about 3 a.m. after a flat tire left them stranded in the dark on Interstate 75. Nagy Ferguson, Kenneth Collins and Jerrick Vann jumped in Collins' Honda Civic and rode to the rescue.

They found the women, Erica Berry, 22, Mariya Peterman, 17, and Ferguson's girlfriend, 19-year-old Brittany Vaughn, stopped on the southbound side of the freeway, in the emergency lane. The men parked in front of the women's car, turned on the emergency blinkers and got to work changing the tire.

They never saw the BMW come barreling down the highway, right into their path.

"It was like a flash," Ferguson, 24, recalled Wednesday. "One minute we were changing a tire, the next minute we were lying in the street."

He said when he came to, he saw a man being led away in handcuffs.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the BMW was headed south on I-75 when the driver came up on the parked cars. He tried to change lanes but "failed to maintain control of his vehicle," the report said. The right front part of the BMW hit the rear left of the Civic. The impact pushed the Civic into the back of the Toyota. The six people who were standing between and around the stopped cars were then hit by the two cars.

All were taken to local hospitals.

"I have a broken clavicle, and I can't use my left arm," said Ferguson, who was recovering at home Wednesday afternoon. Collins, 19, Vann, 24, and Berry were also treated and released. Vaughn was listed in critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital. Peterman was also at St. Joseph's in serious condition. Ferguson said all six were friends and had attended Wesley Chapel High School.

The driver of the BMW, John Hegarty, 47, of 30237 Glenham Court, Wesley Chapel, was arrested and taken to the Pasco County jail. The patrol said his blood-alcohol level was 0.10, just above the 0.08 level that Florida law presumes impairment. He faces charges of felony DUI with serious bodily injury, driving with a suspended license, failing to drive in a designated lane and violation of business purposes only.

Records show he was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge in Texas in 1997. He served probation and completed a driving course.

Records show he had minor traffic offenses in Florida since 2005, including a seat belt violation and failing to display registration in 2009.

Researchers Natalie Watson and Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

Wesley Chapel man charged with DUI in I-75 crash that injures six people 11/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. America's opioid problem is so bad it's cutting into U.S. life expectancy

    Public Safety

    Prosecutors in New York announced this week that an August drug raid yielded 140 pounds of fentanyl, the most in the city's history and enough to kill 32 million people, they told New York 4.

    The average American life expectancy grew overall from 2000 to 2015, but that the astounding rise in opioid-related deaths shaved 2.5 months off this improvement, according to a study. [Associated Press]
  2. After Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay officers headed south to help out

    Public Safety

    When Hurricane Irma was forecast to pummel the Tampa Bay region, Tampa police Cpl. Whitney McCormick was ready for the worst — to lose her home and all of her possessions.

    Tampa International Airport Police Department Sgt. Eric Diaz (left) stands next to Tampa Police Department Cpl. Whitney McCormick at the Collier County Command Post in the days after Hurricane Irma. More than 100 local law enforcement officers traveled from Tampa Bay to help out the county. (Courtesy of Whitney McCormick)
  3. Forecast: Sunny skies, mainly dry conditions continue across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    For Tampa Bay residents, Wednesday is expected to bring lots of sunshine, lower humidity and little to no storm chances.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Florida education news: Irma makeup days, HB 7069, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    MAKEUP DAYS: Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart waives two of the required 180 days of instruction to help districts complete the …

    Education Commissioner Pam Stewart
  5. Rays morning after: At least Archer looked good

    Blogs