Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Public safety

Pickup plows through Hudson crash scene, killing two

HUDSON — On Sunday night, Terry Edwards' family was home watching TV when they noticed flashing emergency lights out the front window. The commotion on Hudson Avenue made it hard for Edwards' daughter Rebecca Miller to tell what was happening, but she could see her father's truck parked at the scene, its engine idling.

Rescue workers first told her that Edwards, 72, had been an onlooker in the crash. She tried his phone but got nothing. That's when she knew what happened.

He would have called for something like this.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, around 9 p.m. Sunday, Edwards slowed his Chevy pickup to make a left turn into his driveway. He turned in front of Kenneth Demmith, 29, from Zephyrhills, who hit Edwards' truck and was thrown from his 2006 Lifan dirt bike. Edwards got out — his truck stereo and lights still on — and walked to where Demmith lay in the road.

Moments later, both men were struck by an oncoming pickup and died at the scene.

The pickup's driver, John Lindsay, 59, from Hudson was not injured.

The stretch of Hudson Avenue where the crash happened is flat and straight. Telephone poles and cattle fences line either side and driveways meet the road intermittently.

Hudson Avenue does not draw a notably higher number of speeding tickets than other roads, according to the FHP. The speed limit is 45 mph in front of Edwards' house, but Miller said she rarely sees people driving that slowly.

FHP spokesman Steve Gaskins said darkness could have obstructed Lindsay's view. The crashes remain under investigation. Lindsay declined to comment for this story. Family members of Demmith could not be reached.

Miller said her father came to Hudson with his family when he was a boy. Money was tight at home. He took up Boy Scouts, where he learned to do a good deed every day. His family said those deeds are why he continued helping people later in life.

"When you come from being so poor," Miller said, "you know the feeling."

After high school, Edwards took a job at A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp., where he stayed 51 years. After work, he would come home and tend to his cattle ranch.

Miller's husband, Robert, remembers Edwards loved his family and hunting. A known storyteller, he would weave animated narratives about his hunting trips. He helped his grandsons earn Scout badges and took them on camping trips.

In the hours before his death Sunday night, Edwards paid a visit to his cousin and to his other daughter, Johanna Matthews, who is recovering from surgery.

It's impossible for investigators to tell exactly why Edwards got out of the truck and approached Demmith, but Miller says she knows.

"It's just appropriate that he would die trying to help someone," she said.

Staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

 
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