Brett Habrock of Gainesville, Florida was killed on Sunday when Steven Johnston of West Palm Beach crashed into him, according to news reports. Habrock, 21, was apparently trying to push his broken-down vehicle out of Interstate 95 at the time. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. News reports indicate that the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and that charges are pending. The FHP is apparently considering the possibility that alcohol may have played a role in the accident.
Sources indicate that the pedestrian accident occurred at around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday on a stretch of Interstate 95 near Jupiter. Habrock was driving on the highway when his 2001 Volkswagen broke down in the inner northbound lane. He did not have any passengers at the time. Habrock exited his vehicle and started pushing it out of the road.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Johnston was approaching in his 2004 Ford Escort. It is not clear when Johnston spotted Habrock. In any case, Johnston was unable to avoid hitting Habrock despite swerving. Habrock was crushed against the side of his car by the crash. Rescue workers found him in the inside lane of the freeway. It does not appear as though Johnston was hurt in the accident. It is not clear whether Johnston had any passengers at the time.
Sadly, Habrock was not the only person to lose his life on Florida highways on Sunday. In Spring Hill, Florida on the same day, a multivehicle crash on a rainy U.S. 41 ended with four people dead and one hospitalized with serious injuries. Three other persons who were involved in the crash walked away unharmed. The deceased parties are Edith Busto, 60, of Tampa; Juan M. Alas, 63, of Tampa; Carmen Rosa Gomez-Lopez, 49, of Tampa; and Wayne McBroom, 42, of Hudson. The Florida Highways Patrol is currently investigating the crash. No charges have been filed.
Press reports indicate that the deadly accident began at around 5:45 in the evening. Busto, who was driving a1998 Volkswagen, attempted to pass another car in a no-passing zone. She veered back into her northbound lane, only to lose control on the rain-slicked surface of the highway. The vehicle spun out and struck McBroom’s 1995 Ford.
Almost everyone involved in that initial collision – Busto, two of her passengers (Alas and Gomez-Lopez), and McBroom – died at the scene of the accident. Busto and the two passengers who were killed were likely not wearing seatbelts and were thrown from the Volkswagen. It is not clear whether McBroom, who did not have any passengers, was wearing a seatbelt. Busto’s last passenger and the lone survivor of the first crash, Almarales, was transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point with serious injuries. His current condition is not known. It is not clear how Busto and her passengers were related.
After hitting the Ford, the Volkswagon continued to spin out and struck a passing 2004 Toyota. The driver, Loi Dac Ho, 28, and her passengers, Hoa Le, 65, and Daniel Nguyen, 11 (all of Tampa), were mercifully unhurt.