Florida Truck Driver Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide

semi truck driving down highway

Florida truck driver John Abbate is charged with causing a three-car accident on August 10 that left one Columbus man dead at the scene and another injured. The crash took place in front of Dickie Doodles Convenience Store and was documented by the store’s security cameras. Abbate was not arrested on scene, but has since been charged and detained at the Platte County Detention Facility.

What Happened?

A 2010 Ford Explorer, driven by Roger Gentrup, was stopped at a stoplight when Abbate’s semi truck rear-ended the SUV. The impact pushed Gentrup’s SUV into the back of David Eller’s vehicle as Eller passed through the intersection. Eller was pronounced dead on the scene, and Gentrup was treated and released from Columbus Community Hospital. Trucker Abbate was not injured. Eller was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, although Abbate and Gentrup were.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Wernhoff said that Abbate was traveling at a speed that did not allow him the time or space to come to a stop to avoid the collision.

Safe Following Distance

New braking standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) aim to reduce the stopping distance required by trucks. One way the NHTSA hopes trucking carriers will accomplish this is by utilizing air brakes in trucks instead of disc brakes. Air brakes are said to have a nearly 40 percent reduction of stopping distance compared to disc brakes.

However, new hardware can only do so much to prevent trucking accidents. No matter how much the stopping distance decreases, drivers must still maintain awareness and focus on the road to keep enough stopping distance space between the truck and other vehicles. Due to the weight of semi trucks and the often-explosive nature of their cargo, trucking accidents can cause catastrophic injuries or death.

Accident Investigation

Police and victims were lucky that footage of this accident was captured by the security cameras at Dickie Doodles Convenience Store. However, gathering evidence isn’t always so easy in trucking accidents. Due to explosive cargo, vehicles are often almost too mangled to hold much evidence. Victims may be seriously injured and unable to testify clearly or killed. Additionally, truck carriers and their insurance companies are sometimes known to distort or remove evidence of truck driver or company fault. It is vital that victims of truck accidents, civilian and commercial drivers alike, contact an experienced trucking injury attorney immediately. To ensure the best possible results for your claim, choose a law firm like Fried Goldberg LLC with access to accident and medical experts who can conduct a thorough investigation of the crash.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been injured or if you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a truck, it may have been the result of negligent or irresponsible behavior on the part of the truck driver or company. Contact us for a free consultation so that we can review the facts of your case and explain your legal rights and options.

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