Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dump truck driver was on drugs in fatal Pasco crash, FHP says

NEW PORT RICHEY — The dump truck came speeding down Ridge Road, with worn tires and a driver on three prescription drugs, when it slammed into a pickup last September, authorities said.

The collision created a four-car pileup that killed 59-year-old Ruben Q. Echevarria. On Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol arrested the dump truck driver in that man's death.

Daniel Howard Arends, 49, was charged with DUI manslaughter and manslaughter by culpable negligence, plus three counts of DUI with serious bodily injury for the others hurt in the Sept. 21 crash.

Authorities say Arends had a mix of Valium, oxycodone and the muscle relaxant Nordazepam in his system that afternoon. FHP also determined Arends was driving 68 mph in a 45 mph zone with "improper equipment" — specifically, worn tires.

The Mack truck slammed into a string of vehicles stopped on Ridge Road at Galen Wilson Boulevard. Echevarria's yellow 2007 Chevrolet pickup took a direct hit.

The impact pushed the pickup into a 1996 black Ford Mustang driven by Darynn J. Magee, then 24, of New Port Richey. The Mustang then crashed into a 2007 black Saturn sport utility vehicle driven by John C. Shelak, then 62, of New Port Richey. Magee, Shelak and the Saturn passenger, Bonnie J. Shelak, then 59, were all injured. Echevarria died at the scene.

Arends was booked at the Land O'Lakes jail on Friday afternoon and is being held on $50,000 bail.

Dump truck driver was on drugs in fatal Pasco crash, FHP says 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 9:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.