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Pickup driver jailed after DUI crash kills motorcyclist on Courtney Campbell

Wilbur Eric French, 57, was on narcotics after surgery and had smoked crack cocaine, he told investigators.
Wilbur Eric French, 57, of Clearwater, was arrested Sunday on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
Wilbur Eric French, 57, of Clearwater, was arrested Sunday on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Apr. 25
Updated Apr. 25

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater man is in Pinellas County Jail on DUI manslaughter charges after police say he struck and killed a motorcyclist on the Courtney Campbell Causeway just shy of his 30th birthday, police said.

Wilbur Eric French, 57, remained in jail Sunday afternoon on $40,000 bail after he struck and killed motorcyclist Edward Jiminez, 29, of Pinellas Park, Clearwater police said.

The collision occurred about 11:20 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of the causeway.

Jiminez was driving east, towards Tampa, on his 2018 Suzuki motorcycle, police said. French was driving west in a 2007 Lincoln pickup truck and drove around cones to make an illegal left turn, police said. He drove into the path of the motorcyce and they collided.

French showed signs of impairment at the scene of the crash and was taken to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said. At the hospital, he told investigators he had surgery earlier Saturday and left a medical center against the advice of medical personnel, police said.

French said he had been given narcotics after surgery and admitted to smoking crack cocaine hours before the crash, police said.

French was arrested early Sunday morning on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

All eastbound lanes of the Courtney Campbell Causeway were closed from Bayshore Boulevard east for several hours after the crash.