Monday, October 22, 2018
Public safety

Truck driver in fatal Alafia River wreck has dozens of driving infractions

The driver of a semitrailer truck involved in a fatal accident that sent a car off Interstate 75 and into the Alafia River early Wednesday has a troubled driving history that includes more than two dozen infractions in the past 10 years.

Wayne Damari Waldon, 30, who was driving an ABC Fine Wine & Spirits truck, also has had his driving license suspended six times, records show.

An applicant's previous driving history cannot disqualify him or her from getting a commercial license, said Lt. Jeff Frost of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Only a written test and vehicle skills test are required, he said.

"As long as your current operator's license is valid then you are able to obtain a CDL," he said.

The accident occurred about 2:36 a.m. Wednesday when the semitrailer, southbound on Interstate 75, pulled out to pass a slow-moving BMW and clipped the rear of the car, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The collision caused the semi to overturn on the stretch of I-75 that crosses the Alafia. The car veered off the interstate between the northbound and southbound lanes and plunged into the 5-foot-deep river, killing the driver, James Dylan Proctor, 42, of Parrish, officials said.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol said he did not know if citations would be issued. An investigation was ongoing.

A spokeswoman for ABC Fine Wines & Spirits declined to comment on the accident or Waldon's driving record.

Only two of Waldon's 27 infractions, both non-moving violations, applied to his commercial license. His other violations include speeding and driving on a suspended license.

Waldon could not be reached for comment.

Proctor, whose family could not be reached for comment, had four traffic citations since 2010 — three for speeding and one for failing to yield for an emergency vehicle.

Troopers initially blamed the crash on low visibility due to fog, but later said it was clear for more than a mile when the accident occurred. The National Weather Service confirmed the fog most likely wasn't that dense at the time of the crash.

"At that time of day it probably wasn't all that bad," said forecaster Andrew McKaughan.

The truck's load of about 30,000 pounds of alcoholic beverages spilled onto the highway. Waldon was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The crash caused a massive traffic jam that shut down several miles of southbound I-75 and clogged several other connecting roads. More than 103,000 vehicles travel over that bridge each day, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, but the area doesn't usually attract massive backups.

Officials were concerned about the possibility of fire while the interstate was coated in alcohol. Traffic was diverted to State Road 60 for more than seven hours as crews worked to clear the wreckage and waited for the trailer's contents to evaporate, said David Buser, manager for Infrastructure Corporation of America, which dealt with the cleanup.

Colleen Wright can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. You can follow her on Twitter @Colleen_Wright. News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

 
Comments
Bloomingdale video voyeur teacher: 353 new charges, $2 million bail

Bloomingdale video voyeur teacher: 353 new charges, $2 million bail

Investigators say they have uncovered an extensive amount of videos and images of under-age students secretly filmed while undressing by a Bloomingdale High School teacher who was arrested last month on a video voyeurism charge.Mark Ackett, 50, who r...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa man charged with manslaughter for failing to call 911 after Plant High student’s fatal overdose

Tampa man charged with manslaughter for failing to call 911 after Plant High student’s fatal overdose

TAMPAFailures to call 911 leads to chargesA 19-year-old Tampa man is under arrest for his role in the death of a Plant High School senior who overdosed on heroin last year just weeks before graduation. Titan Goodson, of Harbour Island, was still in t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lakeland commissioner resigns after murder charge

Lakeland commissioner resigns after murder charge

LAKELAND — The Lakeland city commissioner who was charged last week with second-degree murder in the death of a would-be shoplifter has resigned from his elected position.A letter of resignation dated Oct. 20, the same day Michael Dunn was arrested, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
This pedestrian died 29 years ago on Park Blvd. Police just learned his name.

This pedestrian died 29 years ago on Park Blvd. Police just learned his name.

PINELLAS PARK — Police say they’ve solved the 29-year-old mystery behind the identity of a pedestrian killed while trying to cross Park Boulevard N.His name is Maurice Glenn Cooksey Jr., according to Pinellas Park police. He died on July 22, 1989 at ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Veteran blames fight over football on TV in shooting deaths of girlfriend and her son, 10

Veteran blames fight over football on TV in shooting deaths of girlfriend and her son, 10

TAMPA — A man accused of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend and her 10-year-old son told deputies they attacked him after an argument over changing the channel to watch a football game, an arrest report says.Evidence at the scene contradicts tha...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Driver in Selmon Expressway wrong-way crash jumped on patrol car before arrest, report says

Driver in Selmon Expressway wrong-way crash jumped on patrol car before arrest, report says

TAMPA — A driver accused of causing a wrong-way crash that killed another motorist on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway has been charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and resisting arrest, records show.Stephen Pale...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

It’s happened again. Another snippet of video. Another Florida cop being questioned. This time, it’s in Coral Springs, and the cop is punching the midsection of a 14-year-old girl who is pinned on the ground with two cops above her, and ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
When you gotta go, you gotta go, right? Deputies arrest man after he enters Spring Hill home, uses the bathroom

When you gotta go, you gotta go, right? Deputies arrest man after he enters Spring Hill home, uses the bathroom

SPRING HILL — A Palm Harbor man was arrested Saturday after Hernando deputies said he drunkenly pulled his convertible into a driveway, went inside a home and used the toilet.Daniel Alfred Jenk, 40, faces charges of burglary, driving under the influe...
Published: 10/22/18
A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could become one of the worst in U.S. history

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could become one of the worst in U.S. history

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004. It is threatening to overtake BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.
Published: 10/22/18
Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a double homicide after discovering the bodies of a woman and a boy in an apartment Sunday evening.About 6:47 p.m., Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said authorities received a 911...
Published: 10/21/18