Friday, April 20, 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
Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

TAMPA — Firefighters were battling a blaze at Captiva Club Apartments on Thursday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.According to video taken at the scene, the roof of one of the apartment buildings at 4401 Club Captiva Dr. ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 6 hours ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

NEW PORT RICHEY—A 15-year-old student was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he threatened to stage a shooting attack on River Ridge High School, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The student attended Schwettman Education Center, dep...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-month-old child was taken to the hospital Thursday after being found in a pond, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies were called at 12:31 p.m. to the 4700 block of Crestknoll Drive.An adult was watching the c...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Teen, 16, walks into path of motorcycle while crossing Ulmerton Road

Teen, 16, walks into path of motorcycle while crossing Ulmerton Road

PINELLAS PARK — A 16-year-old was injured Thursday morning after being struck by a motorcycle on Ulmerton Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 6 a.m. Austin Montgomery, 23, was riding his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Retiring Tampa cop’s son pleads guilty to hazing in death of FSU student

Retiring Tampa cop’s son pleads guilty to hazing in death of FSU student

TAMPA — A Leon County judge sentenced the son of former Tampa Assistant Police Chief Marc Hamlin on Monday to 60 days in jail for a role in the November hazing death of a 20-year-old Florida State University student. Christopher Hamlin, 20, was one o...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Teen, 16, killed in Hernando crash; 17-year-old critically injured

Teen, 16, killed in Hernando crash; 17-year-old critically injured

BROOKSVILLE — A 16-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old boy critically injured after their car was struck by a pick-up truck at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Country Road on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The cras...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18