Thursday, February 22, 2018
Public safety

FHP inconclusive about whether texting caused November crash

ST. PETERSBURG — When a white Honda spun off the side of Gandy Boulevard last November, killing the driver as it crashed into a building, law officers speculated that texting while driving might be to blame.

But a Florida Highway Patrol investigation of the crash that killed 29-year-old Manuel Belisario Bonet Jr. was inconclusive about whether a cellphone text message might have caused him to lose control of the car.

In a crash report released Wednesday, troopers noted that Bonet's cellphone was found in the car's wreckage. The phone did receive a text message at the time of the crash, the report said, but, whether that message distracted Bonet from the road could not be determined. Investigators were unable to pinpoint if the message came in before, during or after the crash.

The investigation did find that Bonet might have been traveling as fast as 101 mph as he sped west across the Gandy Bridge, according to the report. At one point just after he crossed the bridge, Bonet narrowly avoided a collision with another motorist as he veered onto the median to pass.

He was moving about the same speed when he lost control of the car, the report said, spinning west and knocking over a wooden power pole before slamming into the side of a radio communications building.

Bonet was thrown through the windshield and died at the scene.

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