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Articles Posted in New Port Richey

skate-629740_640-150x150A 14-year-old died Tuesday morning in New Port Richey after being struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash involved a Jeep and happened at Moon Lake Road and Slidell Street just after 7 a.m. 

The child was transported to an area hospital but later died due to the injuries suffered in the crash. The child was a 9th grader at River Ridge High School.

The crash remains under investigation and authorities are asking drivers to avoid the area. 

At this time, no charges have been filed.

Anytime a child is hit by a car while riding their bike, it is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. Sadly, a child’s bicycle is no match for the mass and velocity of a full-sized car, so when these accidents occur, serious injuries and/or death are often the result. 

In most of these accidents, the chances are, the driver didn’t mean to hit your child. They may have been rolling too fast through a stop sign, texting while driving, or just simply failing to pay attention to their surroundings. 

If your child is struck by a car, your next steps are very important. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled a list to help you think fast and preserve critical evidence. 

  • Take Care of Your Child’s Injuries/get them to the hospital
  • Keep the accident site intact 
  • Establish Witnesses
  • Call the Police
  • Collect Driver Information
  • Take Photographs
  • Talk to the Police
  • Hire an Attorney

The first, and most obvious thing, is to tend to your child’s injuries. There is a very high chance that they will be badly scraped up and bruised from impacting the car, but they could also have broken bones, a concussion, dislocated joints, or other very serious injuries after the crash. Do everything you can for your child and, if necessary, prepare to call an ambulance to take them directly to a hospital.

Whenever possible, try not to disturb the bicycle’s location too much while treating your child as this can be an important detail for later. You want to make a mental note of where your child was exactly after the crash. 

The next step is to identify any witnesses and get their accounts of the accident. You will want them to make a report to police once they arrive at the scene. If witnesses can’t stay because they need to be somewhere, collect their names and contact information so they can be called about the incident later on.

The driver should remain at the scene and speak with the police. If they leave, the accident escalates to a hit-and-run. 

Once the police are called, it’s time to make sure you have all the information you will need in the future. You need to get the driver’s full name, license plate number, and the details of their insurance policy. Try and take a picture of both sides of their insurance card so you can confirm the details later on.

We strongly recommend not conversing with the driver other than gathering their information. Don’t say anything accusatory, don’t ask for an apology. You do not want to say something that can jeopardize a legal case because you are upset after an accident. The less you and the driver talk (aside from exchanging information) the better. 

If your child is suffering from significant injuries beyond a few easily healed scrapes and bruises, then you need to call an attorney. While the law will hold the driver responsible for any criminal actions like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will need legal help to hold them personally responsible for the damage done to your child. This is where our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can be your best ally.

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A deadly hit-and-run crash last week shut down part of Little Road in New Port Richey overnight.

The crash happened just after 1 a.m. at Little Road and Heritage Lakes Boulevard. 

Florida Highway Patrol says a vehicle, believed to be a 2001 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma in silver, white or light grey color, hit a person trying to cross Little Road near the Heritage Lakes Boulevard intersection, then continued going north on Little Road. 

FHP had the northbound lanes of Little Road shut down for hours from St. Lawrence Drive to Heritage Lakes Boulevard while they investigated. 

The road reopened around 6:45 a.m. 

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call FHP at 813-558-1800.

In recent years, Florida has earned the title of being one of the worst states for pedestrian safety. Of the 20 deadliest U.S. cities for pedestrians, 9 are in Florida. Orlando ranks as the least safe for pedestrians and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolis takes the number 14 position, according to a report from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Pedestrians are injured and killed every day across the United States. So, why is Florida so unsafe for pedestrians? There is no single reason why and multiple factors contribute to why pedestrians are at such a higher risk to be struck by vehicles. 

In the U.S. data has shown that pedestrian deaths have increased by 35.7 percent from 2008 to 2017. During this ten year period, a total of 49,340 pedestrians were killed. If you break it down, the numbers equate to 13 pedestrian fatalities every single day for the whole country. 

As far as Florida pedestrian accidents go, there were 5,433 pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2017, which averages out to 2.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. The Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) calculated in the report is 182.0. The U.S. as a whole shows an average of 1.55 deaths per 100,000 people and a 55.3 PDI. The numbers show that Florida doubles the national statistics.  

Orlando had 656 pedestrian deaths over 10 years with a PDI of 313.3 and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach had 1,549 pedestrian deaths and a PDI of 153.5. To put this into better perspective, New York City-Newark is one of the most heavily walked metropolitan areas in the country, but only has a PDI of 27.1. Washington D.C. has a PDI of 39.7 and Chicago 34.5.

Pedestrians continue to be struck and killed every day in the United States. While not every pedestrian accident results in a fatality, many do. For those that survive a pedestrian accident, they may be left battling chronic pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. Their injuries could result in them losing their jobs and experience a reduced quality of life because their injuries keep them from the activities they love. 

Every person should be able to walk to a destination without the fear of being struck by a speeding, drunk, or distracted driver. Our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help those who have been injured in pedestrian accidents, as well as the families of those who have been tragically killed. We can help you seek financial compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

The laws in Florida are designed to protect those who become injury victims due to the negligence of another. When a pedestrian is injured through the fault of a motorist, that pedestrian may be entitled to bring a claim for their damages in an effort to obtain financial relief.

In the event that the at-fault driver fled the scene and cannot be located, pedestrians are not necessarily simply out of luck. It is possible for a claim to still be made on the pedestrian’s behalf that could allow them to recover for actual losses like medical and surgical bills incurred as well as less tangible damages including pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, and permanency of damages.

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A teenage girl was struck by a car in New Port Richey and was airlifted to a hospital as a trauma alert. 

The accident happened around 10:45 a.m. Monday morning on Madison Street. 

Residents believe a narrow sidewalk on a busy street is at least partly to blame. 

Pasco County Fire Rescue says the teenage girl suffered from a head injury and was flown to a hospital as a trauma alert. 

Residents say this is the second student to be struck by a car on Madison Street this year.

Residents agree that speeding is a problem on the busy street. 

There is currently no update on the teen’s condition or who is to blame for the accident. 

In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across the United States. These statistics mean that on average, one pedestrian is killed every 1.5 hours. Every year in the United States, at least 100 children are killed in collisions while walking to or from school. Nearly half of all pedestrian deaths of children in or near school zones involve kids who are 15 or older.

Around Florida schools the speed limit is 20 mph. Special speed limit signs are posted around schools to alert you as you enter the zone. These signs have flashing lights to tell you when the lower speed limit is in effect, and there is a sign to indicate when you have left the school zone. 

When drivers failure to obey the school zone speed limits, accidents can and do occur. When traveling 20-25 mph, the stopping distance for an average vehicle and a driver with average reaction times is at least 56 feet. At 35 mph, the stopping distance is at least 95 feet. When drivers travel at a normal speed instead of slowing down in school zones, they add 40 feet to their stopping distance.

According to Florida’s State Uniform Traffic Control Law, a pedestrian is defined as any person travelling on foot. Pedestrians are required to obey the instructions of any traffic control device or police officer. Pedestrians are also required by law to use a sidewalk when provided and are not permitted to walk on the paved road. If there is no sidewalk present, pedestrians are required to walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the road facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

If your child or teen is walking to or from school or bus stops, especially in heavy traffic areas, it is extremely important to go over safety points with them, including:

  • Do not walk distracted. Keep your head up and stay off your phone, so that you can keep an eye on traffic at all times.
  • Do not wear headphones and turn any music off. It is very important to be able to  hear what is going on around you like screeching tires, horns, sirens, or other audible indicators an accident might occur.
  • Always use crosswalks when they are available. Look left and right before crossing and continuously scan traffic while crossing.
  • Be alert and watch oncoming traffic when crossing roadways, even when you are legally crossing in a designated crosswalk with the walk sign lit. Not every vehicle will stop behind the white line, so it is important to pause at each lane and make eye contact with the driver to make sure that they see you and are stopping to allow you to pass.
  • When sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic, as far from the road as possible. Look out for oncoming traffic that may swerve, because the driver is distracted or engaging in any type of dangerous driving behavior. 

In any pedestrian accident, it is almost always the person walking who suffers the worst. When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, they are at risk of:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Back Injury
  • Broken Bones
  • Facial Injuries
  • Internal Injuries

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A teenager remains in the hospital in serious condition Tuesday morning after being struck by a vehicle while walking to school in New Port Richey. 

According to Pasco Fire Rescue, the incident happened around 7 a.m. at the intersection of Schrader Blvd and Little Rd in New Port Richey near Fivay High School.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 16-year-old boy was walking across the northbound lanes of Little Road when he was hit by a Ford F150 driven by a 57-year-old man. The teen was listed as a trauma alert and transported to Bayonet Point Medical Center in Port Richey. 

With summer approaching, National Safe Boating Week is here to encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the best practices for a safe boating experience.

The 7-day period before Memorial Day weekend is “National Safe Boating Week,” and runs from May 18 through May 24, 2019.

In 2017, the Coast Guard recorded 4,291 recreational boating accidents that contributed to 658 fatalities and roughly $46 million in losses. Drowning is the leading cause of death in 76 percent of boating fatalities, and about 85% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are designed to keep you afloat following an accident and save thousands of lives every year.

Here is a breakdown of Florida life jacket laws:

  • All recreational vessels must have at least one personal flotation device (PFD) that is U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved and of the proper size for each person on boat
  • Vessels 16 feet or longer must have one “throwable” Type IV PFD which is USCG approved and immediately available
  • Children under six years old must wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times on any vessel less than 26 feet in length that is underway in Florida waters
  • Children under 13 years of age on vessels operating on waters outside the geographical boundaries of Florida must wear a USCG approved PFD unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin
  • Each person on a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a Waverunner or Jet Ski, must wear a USCG approved life jacket

The following are a few boating safety tips our Pasco County Boating Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have compiled:

  1. Wear a life jacket that is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. We encourage you to check life jackets here: safeboatingcampaign.com
  2. Know local and state boating laws
  3. Consider taking a Florida Boating Safety Course before getting out on the water
  4. Make sure your vessel is properly prepared before heading out on an excursion
  5. Schedule a Vessel Safety Check with the U.S. Coast guard
  6. Prepare a U.S. Coast Guard Float Plan. You can check that out here: http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/
  7. Always have a communication device ready
  8. Do not drink and operate a boat
  9. Follow all navigation rules

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A school bus crash in Pasco County Wednesday morning left multiple people with injuries, including three children.

According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, the crash happened just after 7 a.m. at Kitten Trail at Oakwood Lane in Hudson.

A vehicle collided almost head on with the school bus.

The driver of the small car was extracted and transported as a trauma alert.

There were three students on the bus that suffered minor injuries. All students refused transport and were released to parents.

The driver of the bus was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

When a crash involves a car or truck colliding with a school bus, the injuries can be quite serious as many school buses are not required to have seat belts to protect students in the event of an accident. If your child was injured in an accident where another car hit a school bus, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You could receive compensation for your child’s pain and suffering and other damages such as loss of normal life, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.

If the school bus driver is at fault, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the school district, which is required to have insurance to cover accidents caused by school bus drivers. However, this can be a long and challenging process.

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Four bicyclists have been hospitalized after they were seriously injured in a crash involving another vehicle on Ridge Road in Port Richey, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue officials.

According to the agency, the bicyclists were struck by the liftgate of a vehicle ahead of them that dislodged and fell open.

The driver of the vehicle initially kept driving, but Port Richey Police later caught up with him.

All four bicyclists were transported to Bayonet Point Hospital. Three were transported as trauma alerts.

The crash happened just before 7:30 p.m. when a Florida Cancer Specialist tractor trailer was headed eastbound on Ridge Road when the gate fell off, hitting the cyclists on the sidewalk.

Authorities said there were seven people on bicycles total but three of the riders were able to avoid getting hit by the gate. The other four were not.

Also, police said the driver kept going after the crash.

However, it is unclear if they even knew what happened. The driver is cooperating with authorities.

As of now, the driver is not facing any charges. The investigation is ongoing.

Port Richey is a great place to ride a bike. However, even if bikers use the bike lanes they can be injured by reckless or careless motorists who fail to keep a proper lookout out for bicyclists. Every year, numerous serious injuries and fatalities related to bicycle accidents occur throughout Port Richey and Florida, and all over the United States as well. If you have suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, or if a loved one has died as a result of a car vs. bicycle accident, our Pasco County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you during this stressful period.

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The mother of an 18-year-old killed in a crash is urging other drivers to be safe and avoid distracted driving.

The fatal crash happened on Curley Street early Monday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

FHP troopers said the man was traveling southbound on the street, approaching Curley Road, at about 1:12 p.m. when he lost control of his 1998 Toyota Tacoma.

He ended up crossing the street and entering the east shoulder before his truck overturned.

Troopers said the man suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.

His mother said her son wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and was texting just before the crash.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and according to the report, alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

No other information has been released.  The investigation remains ongoing.

Texting and driving is a leading cause of accidents across the country. When you think about it, a person who spends just five seconds sending a text message while driving 55 mph will travel over 100 yards while distracted. That’s almost the length of an entire football field.

Some of the types of accidents caused by texting and driving include:

  • Rear End Accidents
  • Head-On Collisions
  • Sideswipes
  • Parking Lot Accidents
  • Turning Accidents
  • T-Bone Collisions

Our Pasco County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to remind all drivers to pull over to a safe area if you must send a text message, or even if you need to make a phone call. Anyone who uses their cell phone while driving risks causing a serious accident. If a texting driver has caused a collision that left you suffering from an injury or took a loved one from you, we can help you hold the negligent driver accountable.

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A motorcyclist was killed in a traffic crash in the Hunters Ridge community of Pasco County Saturday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Investigators said the 59-year-old was on his motorcycle heading east on Rancho Del Rio Drive at the time of the crash. He entered the intersection at Via Segovia, at which time another vehicle drove into his path.

The man’s motorcycle struck the left rear of the second vehicle. He died at the scene.

According to the accident report, the man was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The driver of the other vehicle was not injured.

No further information has been released.

It is no secret that a motorcycle’s small size combined with their speed can be  deadly. Hundreds of motorcyclists die every year in Florida in collisions with cars and trucks. Motorcyclists have to be very cautious when navigating the roadway, but other motorists also need to be more aware of motorcyclists.

Most motorcycle accidents are preventable. The most common causes of these collisions, include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Motorists not paying attention to motorcycles
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Faulty mirrors, brakes or lighting

Drivers of cars and trucks are not free to act without regard for the safety of motorcyclists. Motorists routinely neglect their responsibility to watch out for bikers on Florida roads, causing serious, and even fatal, motorcycle accidents.

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Authorities in Pasco County are investigating two weekend hit-and-runs.

According to Pasco Fire Rescue, a toddler was struck by a motorcycle in the 7300 block of Oak Crest Drive in Port Richey on Saturday evening.  

Officials said the motorcyclist just rode off after striking the 2-year-old child.

The child was trauma alerted and flown from the scene.

No further information has been released.

Another crash happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, this one resulting in a death.

Authorities are searching for a driver that was headed north on US 19 and struck a bicyclist at Holiday Hills Boulevard in Port Richey.

The Florida Highway Patrol described the car that left the scene as a dark blue 2000’s model Saturn sedan.

Anyone with information in either of these cases is asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 847-8102.

A hit and run occurs when the responsible party of a crash flees the scene. Florida law prohibits this behavior, but sadly, new incidents are reported daily, just like these two crashes. Sometimes the responsible party leaves the scene even when there is an injury victim. For victims of hit and runs, this is physically and emotionally painful. They are left to deal with their injuries, but also left wondering how someone could act in such a negligent and reckless manner.

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