Advertisement
  1. News

Truck driver in fatal Alafia River wreck has dozens of driving infractions

Tow truck crews remove a semitrailer truck and a car from the bridge above the Alafia River after an early morning accident that closed down Interstate 75 on Wednesday.
Tow truck crews remove a semitrailer truck and a car from the bridge above the Alafia River after an early morning accident that closed down Interstate 75 on Wednesday.
Published Feb. 13, 2014

The driver of a semitrailer truck involved in a fatal accident that sent a car off Interstate 75 and into the Alafia River early Wednesday has a troubled driving history that includes more than two dozen infractions in the past 10 years.

Wayne Damari Waldon, 30, who was driving an ABC Fine Wine & Spirits truck, also has had his driving license suspended six times, records show.

An applicant's previous driving history cannot disqualify him or her from getting a commercial license, said Lt. Jeff Frost of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Only a written test and vehicle skills test are required, he said.

"As long as your current operator's license is valid then you are able to obtain a CDL," he said.

The accident occurred about 2:36 a.m. Wednesday when the semitrailer, southbound on Interstate 75, pulled out to pass a slow-moving BMW and clipped the rear of the car, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The collision caused the semi to overturn on the stretch of I-75 that crosses the Alafia. The car veered off the interstate between the northbound and southbound lanes and plunged into the 5-foot-deep river, killing the driver, James Dylan Proctor, 42, of Parrish, officials said.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol said he did not know if citations would be issued. An investigation was ongoing.

A spokeswoman for ABC Fine Wines & Spirits declined to comment on the accident or Waldon's driving record.

Only two of Waldon's 27 infractions, both non-moving violations, applied to his commercial license. His other violations include speeding and driving on a suspended license.

Waldon could not be reached for comment.

Proctor, whose family could not be reached for comment, had four traffic citations since 2010 — three for speeding and one for failing to yield for an emergency vehicle.

Troopers initially blamed the crash on low visibility due to fog, but later said it was clear for more than a mile when the accident occurred. The National Weather Service confirmed the fog most likely wasn't that dense at the time of the crash.

"At that time of day it probably wasn't all that bad," said forecaster Andrew McKaughan.

The truck's load of about 30,000 pounds of alcoholic beverages spilled onto the highway. Waldon was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The crash caused a massive traffic jam that shut down several miles of southbound I-75 and clogged several other connecting roads. More than 103,000 vehicles travel over that bridge each day, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, but the area doesn't usually attract massive backups.

Officials were concerned about the possibility of fire while the interstate was coated in alcohol. Traffic was diverted to State Road 60 for more than seven hours as crews worked to clear the wreckage and waited for the trailer's contents to evaporate, said David Buser, manager for Infrastructure Corporation of America, which dealt with the cleanup.

Colleen Wright can be reached at cwright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. You can follow her on Twitter @Colleen_Wright. News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The techniques are as varied as the costumes when Gasparilla parade-goers beckon for beads from passing floats. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with tampabay.com all day for the latest reports.
  2. President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he arrives to speak during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders.
  3. Officers later found an adult man with gunshot wounds in a car crash, but are still searching for the second man
  4. After a fire Saturday morning, a boat was left nearly unrecognizable [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The flames were visible from Gandy Boulevard. Nobody was injured in the fire
  5. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, is close to landing a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    The Boston Globe says Peters is days from being given a superintendent position.
  6. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  7. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. [AP]
    As Democrats finished their third day before skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected on Saturday.
  8. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  9. People climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge stop under flags flying at half-mast as mark of mourning and respect in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for three U.S. crew members of an aerial water tanker that crashed Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. [RICK RYCROFT  |  AP]
    The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.
  10. Delvin Ford, 22, of St. Petersburg, is facing a second-degree murder charge after his accomplice, Marquis Golden, was shot and killed by a Pinellas deputy Thursday night, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says.  He says the men -- armed with an AR-15 and a handgun, shown right -- confronted the deputy. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The deputy was confronted by two armed men in a St. Petersburg alley, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement