Four Tampa area teenagers were recently involved in a serious car accident in Interstate 75. The driver, 18-year-old Tyler Wilkinson, was cruising at close to 130 miles per hour when he passed an unmarked trooper after midnight. With three passengers in the car along with liquor and a quarter pound of marijuana, Wilkinson had his headlights darkened when the trooper saw him speed past.
Wilkinson attempted to dodge the traffic stop by making a quick exit to Gibsonton Road, but at such a high speed, he lost control of the car. Sgt. Steve Gaskins from the Florida Highway Patrol said that Wilkinson’s gold Maxima rolled repeatedly and hit multiple trees and a utility pole before it came to a stop.
Sgt. Gaskins said that Wilkinson and Keely Nicole Faircloth, age 19, were both ejected from the car on impact causing serious injuries.. Both teens were not wearing seatbelts when the car crashed. There were two additional passengers in the car, 17-year-old Amanda Evelyn Bohn and 18-year-old Michael Wayne Osborne. Both of the passengers only had minor injuries and were reportedly wearing seatbelts.
Paramedics rushed the injured teens to the hospital in Tampa while investigators began to process the accident scene. Inside the car, police found 114 grams of marijuana and open containers of alcohol. Gaskins said that the investigation is still pending, but criminal charges are a possibility because officials believe Wilkinson was intoxicated.
“It’s very fortunate that no one else was injured in the crash, but it’s a reminder of what not to do when you get behind the wheel,” Gaskins said. “Especially these people all under 21, they shouldn’t have had alcohol to begin with.”
Ironically, this tragic accident happened just as the Florida Highway Patrol was announcing a new push for the Arrive Alive campaign in an effort to squelch a recent spike in serious car accidents across Florida.
“This is such a timely reminder for young people on Florida roadways,” said Marc Yonker, a personal injury attorney at Tampa’s Winters and Yonker firm. “Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of injuries and fatalities that are related to poor decisions by teen drivers. From drinking and driving to texting behind the wheel, there are many dangers that young drivers have to be aware of. When you make a choice to drive under the influence, you are not only risking your own life, but also the lives of innocent people all around you.”
If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver who was intoxicated, texting, or just driving recklessly, contact a Tampa personal injury attorney for a consultation. In many cases, victims of these kinds of accidents are entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, vehicle damage, and even lost wages for recovery time. There are a variety of legal options available if you become a victim of a drunk driver. Talk to a personal injury attorney in Tampa to learn more.