A woman from Fort White, Florida, died Monday, August 16, after her vehicle crossed the divided highway and was then involved in a head-on collision with another car.
Nancy Vituli, 57, was heading northbound on U.S. 41, about seven miles south of Lake City. Her Honda Civic crossed the center line at approximately 2:45 p.m. near Southeast Gabe Street and struck a Ford Expedition. Barbara Chastain, 65, of High Springs, Florida was behind the wheel. Both cars then rotated counter-clockwise.
Vituli was killed at the scene. She was not wearing her seat belt.
Chastain suffered serious injuries and was taken to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her passenger, Joanne Duffy, 51, was taken by air ambulance to Shands Hospital with critical injuries. Both Chastain and Duffy were wearing their seat belts.
Although this article in the Florida Times-Union does not say what caused Vituli to leave the road, one of the first things law enforcement looks at is distracted driving. Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute has studied distracted driving and found that dialing a cell phone increases the risk of a crash or near-crash 2.8 times over a non-distracted driver.
Texting is even worse. Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as for the non-distracted driver.
The family of Ms. Vituli would be well-advised to contact an experienced Florida auto accident attorney. An investigation into cell phone records should be launched immediately. Sometimes we find the driver was not at fault for their accident at all.
A defective car or car part can lead to an auto accident, injuries, or death. Perhaps the steering on the vehicle was defective, or a tire blew out. The seat belts can occasionally malfunction just when they are supposed to hold someone in their seat during a critical accident.
Were there dangerous conditions on the road that may have led to the accident? Was another driver involved? Did she suffer from a medical condition? There are too many questions here that need to be answered before liability can be determined and the at-fault party named.
Consult with a Florida personal injury attorney experienced in accident reconstruction to help guide you through the legal process and preserve your rights.