Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Video shows driver of semitrailer that fell from I-75 overpass was using cellphone while driving (w/ video)

The driver of a semitrailer that plunged off an Interstate 75 overpass onto Fowler Avenue last week was ticketed Tuesday after dash-cam footage showed him using a cellphone just before the accident.

The Zephyrhills man, 49-year-old Samuel R. Colon Jr., was seriously injured but survived the dive onto Fowler Avenue, which occurred around 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 4.

Colon was driving north on I-75 in a 2007 Mack semitrailer hauling recycled materials when another vehicle changed lanes in front of him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Colon swerved to the outside shoulder and the rig collided with a barrier wall, overturned and fell onto Fowler Avenue.

A video camera installed in the dashboard of the semitrailer Colon was driving recorded him steering with one hand while using the other to tap on a smartphone in the moments before the fall. Footage shows Colon looking down at his phone and then quickly grabbing the wheel and swerving as soon as he looks back at the road.

He was issued a citation for using a cellphone while operating a commercial motor vehicle, according to the Highway Patrol. A first offense comes with a $500 fine, a second violation costs $1,000 and subsequent violations cost $2,750, according to the state agency's website.

Photos from the scene show the cab was knocked off the trailer by the impact, landing in the westbound lanes of Fowler Avenue. The trailer landed on a concrete barrier in the median, spilling its load onto the roadway and blocking lanes for several hours. Two motorists heading east on Fowler struck some of the debris, causing damage to their vehicles but no injuries, troopers said.

Colon was taken to Florida Hospital Tampa with serious injuries.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue cleaned up a small fuel spill and officials from the Department of Transportation inspected the overpass bridge for damage.

The driver that caused the chain of events by cutting in front of Colon has not been identified, according to the Highway Patrol. Troopers asked anyone with information about the vehicle to call (813) 631-4020.

 

   
Comments
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

Missing Child Alert issued for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.Heaven Flores was last seen near the 1400 block of SW Cashmere Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, according to the Florida Department of Law E...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Published: 12/14/17
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Published: 12/14/17
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Published: 12/14/17

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Published: 12/14/17