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Days after arrest on child porn charges, Sarasota man struck and killed by semitrailer on Interstate 75

All southbound lanes in Sarasota County were closed for more than four hours as troopers investigated the deadly crash.
Gerald Nicolas was arrested Wednesday and charged with 50 felony counts of possession of child pornography.
Gerald Nicolas was arrested Wednesday and charged with 50 felony counts of possession of child pornography. [ Sarasota County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Feb. 24, 2020
Updated Feb. 24, 2020

A Sarasota man who was struck and killed by a semitrailer Monday morning on Interstate 75 had been arrested days earlier on child pornography charges, deputies say.

The overnight crash closed all southbound lanes on I-75 in Sarasota County for more than four hours early Monday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, David Lawrence, 48, of Jacksonville was traveling south on I-75 in a 2001 Mack semitrailer around 2:46 a.m.

Gerald Nicolas, 65, was standing on the right shoulder of the interstate.

Nicolas ran into the path of Lawrence’s truck and was struck and killed, troopers said.

Lawrence was not injured.

All southbound lanes of I-75 were closed between the Fruitville Road and Bee Ridge Road exits as troopers investigated the deadly crash. The lanes reopened around 7 a.m.

On Wednesday, Nicolas was arrested and charged with 50 felony counts of possession of child pornography.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, detectives had been alerted that a particular IP address was used to upload illicit images.

After acquiring a search warrant, detectives discovered 50 images determined to be child pornography on electronic devices at Nicolas’ home.

Detectives said also they also believe Nicolas may have exposed himself to patrons at local beaches.

He was released on $50,000 bail.