Wrong-way drivers who cause collisions account for roughly 1% of all auto collisions nationwide. However, a wrong-way collision is more likely to be fatal due to speeds, since many of these conditions take place on highways. They also tend to occur in a head-on fashion, and these can be the deadliest of car accidents. A great many wrong-way collisions are caused by intoxication and the majority of wrong way collisions occur at night. However, the explanations behind a wrong-way driver can leave more questions than answers, as the Tampa Bay Times reports.
On Thanksgiving night in 2018, Paul O’Neal first thought the headlights he saw in the distance on a darkened stretch if I-75 in Florida were from a tow truck picking up a car. However, when he notices tail lights ahead of him swerving, he knew he was dealing with a wrong-way driver.
A few moments later, O’Neal watched as the wrong-way driver sped head-on into a sedan heading south.
The Florida Highway Patrol released details about the accident a short time later.
21-year-old Justin Larkin was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of I-75 near Gibsonton Drive when he crashed into the sedan, which was carrying a young couple.
LaShay Waiters, 24, and Yvette Alexandre, 21, died of their injuries. Wilkens had recently become pregnant. Larkin also died in the accident.
However, Larkin’s autopsy only returned caffeine, with no other drugs or alcohol to be found in his system. However, the reason why Larkin was in a small town halfway between Atlanta and the Florida line was unclear. Larkin’s father, who was returning from Georgia as well, bought his son some Red Bull energy drinks for the 5-hour drive home.
Later, Larkin’s sister would tell authorities that he suffered from manic depression and schizophrenia. Yet, no psychiatric medications were detected in his system.
Investigators later determined that Larkin had “spun out” and his father had passed him in the outside lane. A witness later said that Larkin’s car had been in the median, then began driving north in the southbound lanes.
Both Waiters and Alexandre were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. Larkin was not.
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