John Sutherland Abbott of Eustis, FL collided with Taira and Gabriel Jones in a car accident on March 13, sources indicate. The car accident, during which Abbott’s Audi struck Jones’ PT cruiser, reportedly killed Gabriel Jones, 3. Authorities suspect that medication may have played a part in the accident. Abbott has not been charged as investigators await the results of a toxicology report. It is not yet clear whether he has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate that the car accident occurred at the intersection of County Road 437 and State Road 44, at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Abbott, 39, was reportedly going northbound down Country Road 47 in his Audi when he crossed the median for unknown reasons and collided with a Jeep. The jeep, driven by 60-year-old Charles Pastore and contained passenger Chewy, Pastore’s dog, flipped over on impact. Abbott, still on the wrong side of the road, struck Jones’ PT Cruiser next. The head-on collision completely crushed the front of the cruiser.
Taira Jones was reportedly wearing her seatbelt, but Gabriel was not restrained at the time of the accident. Authorities found a booster seat in the back of the car, and it is believed that Taira Jones buckled the girl in but that Gabriel had unbuckled her seat belt while the vehicle was in motion. “She started buckled up, but the girl may have unbuckled herself,” said a Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson.
Gabriel Jones was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Taira Jones, who sustained serious injuries, was transported to Orlando Regional Medical center for treatment. Charles Pastore sustained only minor injuries, despite the fact that his vehicle flipped over, and was taken to Florida Hospital Waterman for treatment. His dog was uninjured. Abbott was also treated for minor injuries following the crash.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper explained that the FHP believes “that the driver of the Audi may have been under the influence of some type of medication or prescription. We did draw blood and that blood will be evaluated for any type of substance that was inside. That typically takes 10 to 12 weeks.” She did not specify what kind of medication Abbott had supposedly taken. The trooper also said that there was a large amount of alcohol in unopened packages in Abbott’s car, and that it appeared that he was delivering it to a business.
A background check on Abbott revealed that he has been issued driving citations nearly a dozen times, including 8 speeding tickets, an open container citation and a careless driving citation. He was also reportedly blamed for causing a car accident on I-4 last year.
Jack Rackley, who works nearby, told the press that he heard the accident and came out to see what was going on. “Two fellows were pulling the back car open where the little girl was in the back seat obviously in the back compartment,” he told a reporter. Gabriel Jones was the daughter of Gavin Jones, who used to coach football at Tavares High School.