CHIPLEY, FL. – October 25, 2018 – Three men who were fixing power lines damaged by the hurricane in Florida were struck and killed by a drunk driver on October 24, 2018. The driver was apprehended after fleeing the scene, according to an online news report from atlanta.cbslocal.com.
Shortly before 7 p.m. on October 24, 52-year-old George Cecil, 22-year-old Ryan Barrett, and 60-year-old James Ussery were working on the side of State Road 77 near Chipley, Florida. They were trying to repair a set of damaged power lines as part of continued restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
As they were working, a northbound pickup truck veered into the shoulder of the road and struck all three men. The driver of the pickup, 37-year-old John Goedtke, of Thonotosassa, Florida, sustained minor injuries in the crash and reportedly abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene on foot.
All three workers died of their injuries. Cecil, of Cole Rain, North Carolina, and Barrett, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, worked for Lee Electric Construction Inc. Ussery, of Chipley, Florida, worked for West Florida Electric.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office tracked down and detained Goedtke after the crash, and Florida Highway Patrol placed him under arrest. He has been charged with DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident. Troopers said additional charges are pending a full investigation. No further details regarding the Florida accident have been released at this time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 people die every day in the United States from motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. This breaks down to one alcohol-related vehicle accident fatality every 50 minutes. In 2016, the CDC indicates almost 10,500 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States that year.
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