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Pasco staffer in fatal crash has a spotty driving record

On a foggy morning in the fall of 2006, Daniel Whipple turned off State Road 52 in Pasco County to write down information from a mobile device.

The county engineering inspector was on duty when he accidentally veered into a chain across a road and broke the grille on his county-owned Ford pickup truck. His supervisors gave Whipple a written reprimand.

On Thursday, Whipple was on his way to a job site when he turned his work truck in front of a motorcycle that Master Patrol Officer Victor Guerrero, a Tampa law enforcement veteran, was riding, investigators said. Guerrero, 47, died.

Whipple, 53, was assigned to desk duty Friday. Now, Pasco officials are awaiting the results of the Florida Highway Patrol's investigation before they determine whether he can return to work in his normal capacity, said Eric Keaton, county spokesman.

Whipple of Hudson has been an engineering inspector in Pasco since 2000, according to personnel records, and has been praised as a good employee..

But charges are pending because Whipple turned into Guerrero's path, a "clear case of violation of right of way," said FHP spokesman Larry Coggins.

"When it's a traffic homicide, it takes weeks for charges because of toxicology and autopsy reports," Coggins said.

Whipple's driving record shows four citations since 1989, including two speeding tickets, failure to use due care, and failure to obey a traffic instrument, sign or device. In all four cases, adjudication was withheld. He has no criminal record in Florida, according to state records.

Whipple has completed three four-hour defensive driving courses administered by the National Safety Council, his county personnel file shows.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco staffer in fatal crash has a spotty driving record 05/02/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2008 2:20pm]
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