Articles Posted in Lake County

A man lost most of his right hand in a fireworks accident in Leesburg earlier this month, according to Lake County deputies.

The incident occurred at a home on the 2500 block of Virginia Drive.

Witnesses told deputies that while in the home’s garage, the man tried to re-light a mortar-style firework that he thought was a “dud.” He picked it up and attempted to throw it into the driveway when it exploded, a Sheriff’s Office report said.

Police believe it either exploded in his hand or near his hand. He had to be transported to a specialty facility.  

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2014 there were at least 11 nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths, and an estimated 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Nearly 74 percent of those injured by fireworks were men or boys.

Under Florida state law, only sparklers, approved by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, are legal for consumer usage. It is illegal to use exploding and/or flying fireworks in Florida, which include: shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers.

It is important to note that you should never attempt to re-light, alter or fix any “dud” firework. If a firework fails to function when ignited, it is best to let it stand for at least five minutes, then immerse it in water. The item failed to function for some reason, so if you try to light it again, you could create a dangerous situation. It is best to dispose of the item properly, so that you and everyone nearby stays free from harm.

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Belle Isle interim city manager, Apopka consultant and lobbyist Richard Anderson turned himself in to authorities yesterday after he was charged with a hit-and-run case that hospitalized another driver back in April.

The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the Lake County collision and issued an arrest warrant for Anderson Tuesday.

Anderson turned himself in to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office out of convenience Tuesday afternoon. That department held him in the Seminole County jail overnight pending transfer to Lake County.

A new report on bicyclist deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths of any state in the nation — 0.57 per 100,000 people, more than double the nationwide rate of 0.23 per 100,000.

While other states have found ways to cut bicycle deaths during two periods measured over the last three decades, Florida has only reduced the number less than 10 percent.

Nationwide, safety seems to be improving for bicyclists, with the number of deaths per 100,000 people declining 44 percent from 0.41 to 0.23 during the periods measured — the five years from 1975 to 1979 and the five years from 2008 to 2012, according to the new CDC report titled “Bicyclist Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Traffic — United States, 1975–2012.”

The steepest decline measured was among children younger than 15.

According to the report, bicyclists are killed on U.S. roads at a rate double that of vehicle occupants, even though bicycle travel accounts for only about 1 percent of trips across all modes of transportation.

Because of the year-round warm climate in Florida, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and exercise activity during most months of the year. However, Florida roadways also pose serious risks to bicyclists, from distracted automobile drivers to improper bike lanes. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury or was killed in a bike accident, it is very important to discuss your case with a Florida Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

Unfortunately, what could start out as a leisurely bike ride can quickly turn into a fatal accident. At Whittel & Melton, we believe that the responsible party should be held responsible for damages. Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a bike accident can be complex, but we can provide you with the experienced representation you need.

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Orlando Eye officials have confirmed that the ride was officially re-opened, almost 24 hours after it was shut down.

Officials said that after conducting a thorough inspection, technicians were able to resolve the default that monitors the wheel’s position.

According to reports, some passengers were stuck on board the Orlando Eye for nearly two hours on Friday. The ride stopped and guests were stranded on the large observation wheel around 3:45 p.m.

“The operating systems for the Orlando Eye indicated a technical default with the system that monitors the wheel position of the Orlando Eye,” said a spokesperson for the attraction on International Drive. “As a safety precaution, the attraction is designed to automatically shut down if communication with this system is interrupted.”

People remained in the capsules while engineers and technicians worked to fix the issue. No injuries have been reported.

One of the Orlando Eye passengers told FOX 35 that she had been stuck for 90 minutes before fire trucks began to assemble below. She stated that the enclosed capsule had no fresh air being pumped through it at the time.

“Immediately following the default, the operations team began working to resolve the matter to allow guests to disembark the attraction,” according to a spokesperson for the Orlando Eye. “A backup system was employed that allowed capsules to be moved to the platform and opened manually.”

Reports indicate that operators of the Orlando Eye maintained constant communication with passengers during the event. As of now, operations have been fully restored.

Millions of visitors come to the Orlando area every year, and Orlando-area rides and amusement parks are a big reason why people choose this area as their vacation spot. The theme park business is highly competitive, and theme parks are always looking for the fastest, scariest rides that provide the greatest thrills to guests. The sad truth is that some of these rides that are designed to appear dangerous actually are. Due to negligent design, poor maintenance and other factors, many people can suffer serious harm on these rides.

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Fireworks are definitely dangerous, but they are not the only dangers to avoid this Fourth of July weekend. The roadways are especially hazardous during the summer holidays. When you are traveling to or from an Independence Day party this year, please remember to be on the look out for reckless drivers.

Here are a few dangers to try and avoid this Fourth of July:

  • Drunk drivers. Think about it, almost every Florida Independence Day celebration will have alcohol. Partygoers who are drinking at parties and such should not get behind the wheel of a car. If you see a car weaving or dodging in and out of traffic, keep your distance. If you have a passenger with you, consider notifying authorities.
  • 4428561177_831c2f9269_zDrowsy Drivers. Many holiday drivers are travelling lengthy distances to get to their final destination. Those who have been driving for hours may be feeling fatigued. Drowsy driving is often as dangerous as drunk drivers, so stay alert.
  • Distracted Drivers. Keep in mind that many travelers on Florida roadways are from out of town and have never been to the area before. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to look at a navigation device can have devastating results. Avoid being a distracted driver by staying off your cell phone and having other passengers check your GPS or phone for you.
  • Speeding Drivers. People that are anxious to get where they are going may decide to speed or drive recklessly. Make sure you obey the posted speed limits and monitor your speed if there is heavy traffic.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last week about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first-ever National Tween Seat Belt Safety Advertising campaign. The campaign urges parents to “Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up.”

The NHTSA is utilizing this campaign to show the importance of targeting this age group and their parents about seat belt safety. It is absolutely vital for tweens to use their seatbelts any time they are riding in cars because these are formative years that immediately precede driving privileges for teenagers.

Unrestrained Tween Facts: Did You Know?

  • Within the past five years, 1,552 children between the ages of 8 and 14 died in car, SUV or Van collisions.
  • Around half of those children killed were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
  • The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unbelted tends to increase with age. This more pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds, regardless of seating position.

2732924156_617c53d3df_zThe campaign targets the parents of children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Why? This is a very important time to instill the habit in children of always buckling up, for every trip. Tweens are just a few short years away from being in the driver’s seat, which makes this campaign all the more important.

Parents are encouraged to lead by example. No matter how short the trip, any time you get behind the wheel you should fasten your seatbelt before heading anywhere.

Tweens are constantly learning how to be responsible and make good decisions. It is up to the adult or adults in the car to make sure they are always buckled up. Again, it doesn’t matter if you are driving 2 miles or 2,000, tweens, children and adults need to be buckled up for every ride.

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Leesburg City Commissioner Jay Hurley failed to convince a Lake County judge Wednesday morning that he made a wide turn and not an improper lane change that caused a crash that resulted in a biker’s death earlier this year, which lead to his driver’s license being suspended for six months and a $1,000 fine.

The one-hour hearing took place Wednesday morning and included testimony from Hurley, Leesburg police and witnesses as friends and family members of the victim.

The crash happened April 27 in front of Gator Harley-Davidson on U.S. Highway 441 during the last day of Leesburg Bikefest. According to police statements, Hurley was driving his Ford F-150 east on U.S. Highway 441 in the center lane and was preparing to turn into the motorcycle shop, which is on the south side of the highway.

The deceased was riding his 1987 Yamaha behind Hurley, but was in the right lane.

2335156733_3aa396e693_zAccording to police evidence, Hurley made a right turn from the center lane into the dealership and drove into the path of the Yamaha, causing the deceased to crash head first into the truck.

After two weeks in a coma, the deceased passed away at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

After the accident, Hurley received citations for improper window tint and improper lane change resulting in death. The State Attorney’s Office recently cleared Hurley of any criminal charges from the accident.

At the hearing Wednesday morning, Hurley pleaded not guilty and stated that he was in the right lane but, due to the size of his four-door truck, he had to make a wide turn into the center lane in order to turn right into the business.

Leesburg police showed video and pictures of the crash site that displayed the truck at an 80-degree angle at the turn, with the bike pinned underneath. Police argued that it would have been impossible for the truck to have crashed at that angle if it had been turning from the right lane, even if a wide turn was the problem. Police even reconstructed the accident with similar vehicles to prove their case.

The judge found Hurley guilty, despite the fact that Hurley’s defense lawyer pointed out that police found no evidence of the bike braking and asked the judge to ignore the reconstruction video as well as a taped police interview of Hurley.

While no criminal charges will be filed against Hurley, the family of the deceased can still file a civil suit against the man, contending negligence. In these types of cases, financial compensation may be awarded for lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship and any emotional pain and suffering that is caused by the death. In order to recover these damages, it must be shown that specific actions were responsible for the death, and that the death would not have occurred without those actions.

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A new report on bicycle fatalities due to car accidents on U.S. roads shows that the bulk of these fatal accidents occur in just a handful of states.

The report, released Monday by the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association, concluded that biking accident deaths rose 16 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2012, while motor vehicle accident fatalities increased by just 1 percent.

4920222422_e160c0f228_zAccording to 2012 figures, the top 10 states that saw the highest number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents are listed below:

  1. California – 123 bicyclist fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in 2012
  2. Florida – 120 bicyclist fatalities in 2012
  3. Texas – 56
  4. New York – 45
  5. Illinois – 29
  6. North Carolina – 27
  7. Michigan – 19
  8. Ohio AND Arizona – 18
  9. Georgia – 17

Moreover, the report also noted that more than half, or 54 percent, of U.S. bicycle fatalities over the period of 2010 to 2012 happened in just six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared this week, October 19-25, as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Due to the sad reality that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens ages 14 to 18, the NHTSA has made this issue a top priority. The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules are designed to raise awareness about the five biggest issues teen drivers face today.

Safety Issues Facing Teen Drivers

The NHTSA has listed out the top five safety concerns for teen drivers by analyzing data and statistics from auto accidents involving teen drivers across the United States. From driving impaired to having too many passengers in the car, there are numerous issues that can greatly increase a teen driver’s risk for being involved in an accident that could result in serious injuries or death.

Top Five Safety Concerns for Teens

  1. Alcohol
  2. Seat belts
  3. Texting
  4. Speeding
  5. Passengers

7838235550_2205537def_zFive to Drive

By addressing these safety concerns with teen drivers, parents can make a huge impact on the safety of their teen when behind the wheel. Even though teens are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, they are at a greater risk than drivers in any other age group of being involved in an alcohol-related crash. It should also be noted that extra passengers can increase a teen drivers risk of being involved in a collision, so it is best to limited teens to no more than one passenger in their car at any time.

Even what can seem like minor details can have a great impact on inexperienced drivers. As a parent, it is smart to have regular conversations with your teen driver about these five key issues and lead by example. When you are driving, make sure to follow all safety rules, including wearing your seatbelt, and limit the distractions around you. Teens are quite perceptive, and if you are a safe driver, then the odds are your teen will pick up on your safe practices and put them into action when they are behind the wheel.

What to do After a Crash

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a press release Monday urging owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags. The message expresses the need for urgency when responding to this issue, especially for owners of vehicles affected by the regional recalls in the following areas: Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

128859908_5717d96b9a_zConsumers who are unaware whether or not their vehicle is impacted by the Takata recalls, or any other recall, can check on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. Once on the site, you can search by your vehicle identification number in order to confirm whether your vehicle has an open recall that needs to be addressed. Additionally, consumers can sign-up for NHTSA recall alerts, which go out before recall letters are mailed by the manufacturers to the affected owners.

Affected Vehicles Involving Takata Airbags:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2004 Lexus SC

2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla

2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia

2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra

2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)

2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)

2001 – 2005 Honda Civic

2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 – 2011 Honda Element

2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 – Honda Ridgeline

2003 – 2006 Acura MDX

2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 – 2004 Mazda6

2004 – Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles

2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre

2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous

2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture

2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy

2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada

2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette

2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville

2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

As of now, four deaths have been attributed to defective components found in Takata airbags, which were predominantly used in vehicles from every major automaker from 2000 through 2007. The deaths have occurred in Virginia, Oklahoma, California and Florida. Additionally, 139 injuries have also been reported that were caused by the Takata airbags.

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