Articles Posted in Homosassa

Citrus County’s first 7-Eleven gas station/convenience store opened in Homosassa last week, but people have been talking less about Slurpees and more about the concrete barrier along West Cardinal Street that has changed the traffic pattern at the new store.

Numerous people have voiced complaints about the barrier.

Walt Eastmond, the county’s project manager, said the raised traffic separator allowing the right-in and right-out from both the new 7-Eleven and Circle K — almost directly across the street on Cardinal — was mandated for safety reasons. The idea was formed after a meeting with the county, 7-Eleven and the Florida Department of Transportation.

The 7-Eleven chain paid for it as part of its permit, Eastmond said.

“We had a safety issue that had to be addressed,” he said.

Eastmond said he’s had about two emails from folks questioning the barrier but that’s all. An employee at Circle K said some customers signed a petition to get the barrier removed and that it was delivered to County Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr., who represents that area. 

When asked about it Wednesday, Kitchen said he has enacted a new policy not to talk to the Citrus County Chronicle. County staffers later said they had not received a petition.

The biggest problem is apparently drivers going west on Cardinal who must now either travel through the Walmart parking lot and wind their way around to U.S. 19 to enter Circle K. They can also make a U-turn at U.S. 19.

A second 7-Eleven is being built about two miles south of the Cardinal site and will be located at 9335 U.S. 19, by the Publix-anchored Shoppes of Sugarmill Woods.

There is no date set for the grand opening of that location.

This story raises issues of design and parking lots. According to the Chronicle, the designers of this location made a decision about safety that may now be negatively affecting a nearby parking lot. Parking lots are obviously designed to handle the parking of cars, not the comings and goings of retail traffic.

With the holiday shopping season well under way, the danger of parking lots, including ingress and egress, is of special concern with accumulating traffic and more people in a hurry. Ingress refers to the right to enter a property, and egress refers to the right to exit a property.

Parking lots can be owned or controlled by businesses or by government entities. Whoever owns or is in control of a parking lot is responsible for that lot and must make sure it’s safe and maintained properly. If the owner of the parking lot fails to design or maintain a parking lot in a reasonably safe way, then the owner can certainly become liable for any injuries that occur as a result of their negligence.

Parking lot injuries can happen for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Negligent maintenance of the parking lot 
  • Negligent maintenance of the parking ramp
  • Negligent maintenance of sidewalks and stairways leading to the parking lot or ramp
  • Improper markings or traffic signals in the parking lot
  • Poor parking lot design resulting in blind spots
  • Poorly designed traffic flow patterns
  • Improper lighting
  • Lack of security

If a parking lot injury has left you suffering from injuries, then our Citrus County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you obtain financial compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress and other damages that resulted from your parking lot injury. First, we must show that the parking lot owner failed to live up to their duty of care. Then we must show that the duty was breached as a result of the parking lot owner’s failure to secure or maintain the lot. Last, we must show that the negligence of the parking lot owner was a direct cause of the harm that you suffered. We can help you gather all of the necessary evidence so that we can make a successful claim on your behalf.

Continue reading

Prom season is here, which is a very exciting time in your teen’s life. Unfortunately, the months of April, May, and June are the most dangerous times for high school students.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Texting or using social media while driving is quite common among teen drivers. Of the 3,166 people killed in distraction-related crashes in 2017, 229 were teens 15 to 19 years old.

To help reduce teen deaths and injuries and encourage safe driving, our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton want to encourages high school students to make safe driving choices.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some great tips for both teens and parents to keep prom night safe.

Teens

Pay Attention: Avoid distractions in the car and save the #JustDrive. Save the selfies for prom.

Slow Down: Speeding was a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Faster speeds are especially dangerous for young drivers as this cna limit driver reaction times. Follow the speed limit and get to your destination safely.

Stay Alert: Prom and after parties can go pretty late, so get home before the exhaustion hits or stay with a friend so you can avoid driving drowsy.

Buckle Up: Nearly half of young drivers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 weren’t wearing seat belts. Every time you get in the car, buckle up.

Drive Sober: You must be 21 to legally drink, so alcohol should not be an issue, but if you have gotten your hands on some alcohol, then hand your keys over. Get a sober driver to take you home.

Parents

Hire a Ride: Many parents choose to get their teens a chauffeur for the night to ease the worry of inexperienced teen drivers on the road. Talk to other parents and see if splurging for the night is something you all can do.

Set the Rules: If your teen insists on driving to prom, then sit down and discuss safe driving practices and what is expected of them behind the wheel.

Open Your Home: Prom night goes late. Encourage your teen to have friends sleep over to keep them off the roads. Some snacks and non-alcoholic beverages can make for s fun and sober after prom party.

Continue reading

A 77-year-old man was killed and a 74-year-old woman was seriously hurt Sunday when their vehicle turned into the path of a pickup truck, troopers say.

The crash happened at about 11 a.m. on U.S. Highway 19 at the intersection of Turkey Oak Drive in Citrus County.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say a 2012 Subaru Outback was headed south on U.S. Highway 19 when it tried to turn left onto Turkey Oak Drive, but traveled into the path of a 2000 Dodge Ram.

The passenger of the 2012 Subaru Outback was pronounced dead at the scene; the driver was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

The driver of the Dodge Ram and her 6-year-old passenger were not hurt.

All four people were wearing seat belts, troopers said.

While you can’t control what careless or reckless motorists do, you can take control of your life after a collision causes injury or the death of a loved one. The road to recovery starts by contacting our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton who will protect your rights, seek the financial compensation you deserve and ultimately help to relieve any additional stress.

We will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if another person is liable for your suffering. Once the at-fault party is identified, we can aggressively pursue financial compensation for you.
We will start by visiting the accident scene to gather evidence and take photographs. We will talk to witnesses, obtain the police report, and even bring in an expert to reconstruct the accident. We will handle all the complex issues to make the process simple and straightforward for you. Our goal is to handle everything on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and healing.

Continue reading

A 19-year-old was killed in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning in Citrus County.

The crash occurred shortly after midnight at E. Gulf to Lake Highway and S. Lois Terrace.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Mercury Marquis traveling westbound on E. Gulf to Lake Highway attempted to turn left at S. Lois Terrace and entered the path of a motorcycle.

The motorcycle ended up colliding with the right rear side of the Mercury, causing fatal injuries to the motorcyclist.

Troopers said the 19-year-old died at the scene.

The driver of the Mercury was not injured in the crash, however the passenger was seriously injured and transported to Ocala Regional Hospital.

The crash, which is still under investigation, caused the road to be shut down until 3:40 a.m.

According to the report, charges are pending.

Motorcyclists lack the same protections as a passenger vehicle, so they are exposed to the elements. When they are thrown from their bikes or pinned in a crash, it is common for them to suffer catastrophic injuries, such as:

If someone you love has been killed in a motorcycle accident, you should contact our Citrus County Motorcycle Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton to determine whether a wrongful death action can be taken against the negligent driver.

Continue reading

Citrus County authorities have released details about a baby killed by a family pet dog.

The incident happened two weeks ago at a home on West Ranchetta Street in Dunnellon.

According to the family, the pit bull jumped onto a bed next to a cradle where the girl was located and attacked the infant while the grandmother was in another room.

When family members realized what happened, the child’s grandfather began performing CPR on the child, and help was called.

The child was airlifted to a local hospital but died about 90 minutes later. The county’s Animal Control unit took control of the dog, which has been euthanized.

The death was ruled accidental.

According to reports, from 1982 to December 31, 2017, there were 389 reported deaths from a pit bull attack. In 2017, 12 different dog breeds caused fatalities, including Akita, Boxer mix, and German Shepherds. A 5-year study conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 50.9% of dog bites to children were from pit bulls. The next most common occurrence was from Rottweilers at 8.9%.

Pit bulls are just a small fraction of the dogs that bite each year. With almost 80 million dogs in the US, it is important to be educated on proper dog safety, especially if you have children sharing the home with a dog.

All dogs can be dangerous, not just pit bulls. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a dog attack, you may be able to file a negligence claim against the owner of the dog. This includes someone who is keeping the dog, has the dog under their care or allows the dog to be on their personal premise.

Continue reading

An 81-year-old man was killed in a head-on collision after his vehicle veered into the wrong lanes.

The 81-year-old Inverness man was traveling eastbound on East Gulf to Lake Hwy in his Honda Odyssey when for an unknown reason, his vehicle traveled into the westbound lanes.

Troopers said the Honda collided head-on with a Toyota Camry.

The crash occurred at about 7:25 p.m. on Saturday.

The 81-year-old man was transported to Citrus Memorial Hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the Camry was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

A head-on collision is when two vehicles meet nose-to-nose or front-end-to-front-end. This usually happens because one driver is travelling in the wrong direction, but these crashes can also happen at intersections. Head-on collisions, in particular, can be more serious than other car accidents due to the speed that the vehicles may be going right before the collision. Safety features such as airbags, restraint systems, and antilock brakes can mitigate damages, however, serious injuries can still result from these types of impacts.

The injuries that can result from a head-on collision can be very serious and even result in death. For this reason, it is crucial that a person injured in a head-on collision in Citrus County contact our Citrus County Auto Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton right away. We can prepare a strong case and to fight for the compensation that you or your loved ones deserve.

Continue reading

A 22-year-old woman from Crystal River was killed in an early-morning motorcycle crash Tuesday.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the woman died in a crash on West Fort Island Trail in Citrus County.  

Troopers said the woman was a passenger on a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle just after midnight when the driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve, went off the road and collided with a tree.  

The 30-year-old Homosassa man driving the motorcycle suffered critical injuries and remains at Bayonet Point Hospital.

The woman died at the scene.

Troopers said neither the woman nor the driver were wearing a helmet.

One in every five motorcycle crashes reported results in head or neck injuries. Head injuries are just as severe as neck injuries and are actually a lot more common. Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of neck or head injury. You are three times more likely to suffer an injury or death than those wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Florida laws are more lenient when it comes to helmet rules. A person over 21 may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if they are covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.

Continue reading

The attorneys and staff at Whittel & Melton wish you and your family a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend! We want to encourage you to enjoy your holiday weekend responsibly.

The Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. More vehicles on the road means that drivers face an increased risk of being involved in traffic accidents. Because of this, we want to remind you to stay alert and aware of your surroundings on the road at all times and drive defensively.

Here are a few other simple reminders that can help you arrive at your destination safely:

  • Put your phone away to limit distractions. You can keep your phone stored in your pocket, purse or glove compartment. Your eyes should be on the road at all times. Distracted driving is a careless and negligent act that could lead to a fatal car accident.
  • Always wear your seat belt, no matter how far or short your trip is. Seat belts save lives, and police officers will be on the lookout for those who are not buckled up this weekend.
  • Never drink and drive. If you are going to be consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver or call an Uber, Lyft or taxi before you leave for the night. Drinking and driving jeopardizes the safety of everyone sharing the road with you. DUI-related accidents are entirely avoidable, so steer clear of driving while intoxicated.

Continue reading

A 17-year-old Citrus High student and football player passed away Sunday from his injuries suffered after being struck by an SUV while he was walking on a Floral City-area roadway.

According to FHP, the teen and another 17-year-old female were walking east on East Stage Coach Trail at about 8:42 p.m. on Saturday, and were approaching the intersection with South Pleasant Grove Road.

The deceased was walking on the eastbound lane of East Stage Coach Trail, while the female was walking on the grass along the roadways’ southern shoulder, FHP’s report shows.

At the same time, a 37-year-old woman and her passenger, a 9-year-old girl, were in a Chevrolet Suburban that was traveling east on East Stage Coach Trail, nearing the teens, who the woman failed to notice.

The woman’s Suburban collided with the deceased, who paramedics transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, where he died Sunday afternoon.

No one else was injured, but charges are pending, according to FHP.

A simple walk can turn into a tragic life-changing event if an SUV strikes you. Pedestrians hit by motor vehicles have the same rights as anyone else injured in an automobile accident. Any time a driver’s negligence results in injuries or death to a pedestrian, the pedestrian and/or their surviving family members are entitled to financial compensation for the suffering.

Just like other car crashes, pedestrians injured due to a negligent driver, are entitled to recover the cost of medical bills, lost earnings, and pain, suffering, and disability damages. In wrongful death cases, certain family members are generally entitled to damages for the loss of their loved one.

Continue reading

Two motorcyclists were killed recently in Citrus County.

The first crash involved a 50-year-old motorcyclist who was killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred in the early morning hours of June 28 at SR 44 and S. Kensington Avenue.

Troopers said the man was traveling eastbound on SR 44 when, for an unknown reason, the motorcycle departed the roadway and overturned.

The man suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

A passing FHP trooper on patrol discovered the crash around 7 a.m.

Another motorcycle crash occurred around 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 28 in Citrus County.

A 26-year-old male was killed after crashing into a fence at Crystal River Middle School.

Troopers said the man was driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle on 4th Avenue approaching the intersection of NE Crystal Street when he failed to stop at the intersection and continued into the property of Crystal River Middle School.

The man collided with an iron fence, and suffered fatal injuries.

Even when motorcycle riders exercise precautions while riding, injuries and wrongful death can still happen because of someone else’s negligence. Because of that, it is always important to remember these two safety tips when riding:

  • Wear a Helmet: Traumatic Brain Injuries are the number one cause of Motorcycle Accident Injuries. Wearing a properly fitting helmet may be the difference between injury or death.
  • Wear the Right Gear: You must keep your skin protected when riding a motorcycle. In the unfortunate event that you are thrown from the bike and skid across the pavement, severe skin damage and road rash can still occur even if you are wearing appropriate clothing.

Continue reading

Contact Information