Two drivers involved in January’s massive pileup on I-75 have been formally charged with DUIs. James Buford Madison, 22, and Jeffrey Stockton Mitchell, 52, were both found to be over the legal limit for alcohol, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Madison was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .123, while Mitchell’s was reported to be .105. With these new findings, Mitchell and Madison can be added to an already large list of potentially negligent parties involved in the January 29th crash.
Even with Madison and Mitchell both charged with DUIs, they are far from the only parties who could be to blame for the crash, which occurred on Jan. 29. Many nearby residents have been pointing fingers at the Florida Highway Patrol and two semitrailers that stopped dead in their tracks. After an accident at 11:55 PM, the Florida Highway Patrol decided to close the highway because of poor visibility as a result of smoke from a nearby fire and fog. After a short period of time the highway was reopened, despite little improvement in visibility.
According to the Gainesville Sun, the state of Florida has already had 13 lawsuits filed against it by those injured and the families of the deceased. The lawsuits were filed after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement claimed that the Florida Highway Patrol had a made a mistake in reopening the highway. Several witnesses have said the visibility was zero at the time of the accident and that the highway should have never been reopened. According to the Gainesville Sun, the Florida Highway Patrol has defended their decision to reopen the highway. Additionally, the trucking company which owns two trucks implicated in the crash may be the target of a possible lawsuit. Both drivers stopped their semitrailers in the middle of their lanes, which resulted in several collisions and two fatalities.
Poor visibility as a result of smoke and fog has been blamed for the two horrific I-75 pileups that happened on January 29. The cause of the fire is still unclear, although authorities have ruled out lightning. The fire burned up 62 acres near the area of the crash. In total there were 11 deaths from the two pileups and 18 others were hospitalized. The I-75 crash was Florida’s second fatal pileup in four years with smoke and fog being the primary cause.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At Morgan & Morgan target we can help you recover any and all damages you may be entitled to, including property damage, medical bills, and damages for pain and suffering. To see if you may be eligible to file a claim, fill out the form on the right for a free, no-obligation consultation.