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The Tampa Tribune
The driver who was killed in a crash on I-75 near Gibsonton road has been identified as Edward E. Smyth, 55, of Bradenton.
The crash injured two Apollo Beach teens and snarled traffic on Interstate 75 for hours. Smyth was driving the Hyundai sedan that was trapped beneath the tanker.
The accident happened shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday near Gibsonton Road.
Franklin Williamson, 28, of Wesley Chapel, was driving the tractor south at 25 mph in the left lane, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins said. That was well below the highway’s minimum speed limit of 50 mph, he said.
A Hyundai sedan and Toyota pickup approached the tractor from behind in the same lane traveling at typical highway speeds, Coggins said. When the drivers braked suddenly, the pickup rear-ended the sedan, which swerved to the right across a center lane and under a fuel tanker.
The tanker driver, Yury Sarria, 39, of Tampa, pulled to the right side of the highway and escaped before his load of 8,000 gallons of fuel exploded. The Hyundai was destroyed, and Smyth was killed. The fuel burned for more than four hours.
What ever happened to each and every one of us having our vehicles under control at all times. The person in the sedan should have been aware of the slow speed of the tractor in front of him. At which point he should have attempted to pass and or slow down. He shouldn’t have been going so fast that he had to slam on his own brakes. Isn’t it a law that you keep 1 car length in distance for every 10 miles an hour your going between you and the vehicle in front of you. And for the guy(Chris Post) that mentioned the kids of Mr. Williamson, what do they have to do with it? If he has any they are not at fault.
what a shame.
I noticed that the sedan did not hit the tractor. The pickup truck hit the sedan and caused the accident. Anything could be in the road a tractor, or a washing machine, or a wild animal like a boar, mabey a cow. Lots of things can be in the road. The man driving the tractor should not be there late at night , however I do not think he caused the crash. The fault is obviosly the pickup driver’s. The person who died avoided the accident only to be killed by the bad driver behind him….
Heavy tankers/trucks entering interstates don’t have much of a merging lane with slow acceleration.
I have seen molten sulfur tankers with a revolving yellow light on the rear.
Too bad the owner of this tanker did’t feel it indicated. Might have allerted the traffic a second or two earlier and potentially avoided this tragic accident. I also saw nothing in the news reports about lighting on the lawn tractor. Surley that must be a statute!
There is a Fl statute for driving too slow for conditions. Hopefully the driver of the tractor that caused this horendous accident will be charged with at least that. He should be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This individual is an idiot and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Uh, helloooo??? When I drive on the interstate, don’t I look ahead of me and guestimate the speed the person in front of me is doing???
And what was the truck doing following so closely anyways?? Whatever happened to minimum safety distance???
Sorry folks, while I also have a problem with the 25mph in the left lane, I certainly don’t “prayer with anyone” for lack of paying attention.
I also don’t agree with the stereotyping how “every City/County employee” is getting away with special treatment.
That would be an awful lot of city/county employees there, don’t you think??
The lawn-mowing company needs to be held responsible for this horrific accident. My prayers are with the families of these victims.
Actually, this was not a County Employee. He was under contract according to an earlier report.
Obvioulsy this guy did not know what he was doing. I have never seen anyone mowing the median after dark.
Besides, most of the county Mowers I see on the Highway have lights and all the safety equipment.
WHO SUPERVISES THE ACTIVITIES OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTORS? I HAVE SEEN ROAD WORK DONE AFTER DUST BUT THERE WERE LIGHTS AND SOME TYPE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT LOCATED AT THE JOB SITE.
THIS IS SUCH A TRAGIC ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED. MY OLD EMPLOYER REQUIRED ALL CONTRACTORS TO TAKE REQUIRED TRAINING BEFORE THEY WERE ALLOWED TO WORK ON PLANT PROPERTY.
I don’t find it surprizing at all to hear that a County/State/City vehicle was involved. Even with the new Law, you see County/State trucks in the fast lane everyday. School buses cut thru traffic and blow thru neighborhoods ,employees use the handicapped parking at stores (in City vehicles). Apparently our Law enforcement gives them carte blanche, Think about it, when was the last time you saw an infraction by a County or State vehicle, but not a thing was done about it? Be sure to include, failure to use turn signals, reckless & waton,failure to yeild, running red lights and stop signs and my personnal favorite, running the stop signs on a bus unloading children. Don’t believe me, drive Armenia Ave at 3:20pm.
This Williamson guy,driving a tractor at 25 mph in the fast lane.How stupid can you get.I fell sorry for his kids if he has any.