FHP: Semi driver cited in July 14 fatal crash

Florida Highway Patrol troopers have ticketed a truck driver for failure to drive in a single lane in a July 14 crash on Interstate 75 that resulted in the deaths of two people associated with a metal rock band based in New York.Troopers cited Robert Edwin Haines, 59 of Largo, and said that although there were no vehicle violations on his big rig, they determined Haines had violated the rule of driving beyond the 14-hour duty period.The crash occurred near Mile Marker 372, which is four miles north of the Orange Lake/Irvine exit, and is just south of the Alachua County line. The tractor-trailer veered off I-75 and struck an RV being used by the Adrenaline Mob band, which had pulled off the highway. A van pulling a covered trailer that contained musical equipment was part of the band’s entourage and also had pulled over. A total of nine people were in the vehicles.A GPS log entry reviewed by FHP investigators showed that the 2014 Peterbilt driven by Haines was traveling at speeds ranging from 64 mph to 70 mph going south on I-75. The last entry indicated the semi was moving at 69 mph at 12:15 p.m. According to troopers, the semi drifted off the highway and slammed into the back of the RV, then struck the van towing the trailer.Marion Fire Rescue emergency personnel were dispatched to the crash at 12:24 p.m.Six people were transported to area hospitals; two refused treatment.

David Zablidowsky, a bassist with the band, died at the scene. Janet Rains, the group’s tour manager, died at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville on Aug. 23 from her injuries.Haines told troopers he never saw the first vehicle or anything else that the semi hit. He said the last thing he remembered was driving in the outside lane. Toxicology tests for Haines were negative for alcohol or drugs.The semi, which was carrying cooking oil, was traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to Orlando to make a delivery at Walt Disney World.The band had left Biloxi, Mississippi, and was on their way to St. Petersburg to perform at the State Theater.Jordon Scott, the driver of the 2003 GMC Savana 3500 van, told troopers they had pulled over on the shoulder because the 1999 Georgia Boy Landau trailer it was towing had a flat tire on its right rear. He said they talked over the situation and then he walked back to the GMC and sat in the driver’s seat.Based on interviews and physical evidence from the scene, troopers determined that Zablidowsky was standing or walking at the front right corner of the van when he was hit and was dragged approximately 57 feet down the grassy shoulder. The right side of the GMC struck Mike Orlando, who was leaning into the open sliding door on the right side of the trailer. He was knocked to the ground, officials said.Several people came out of the RV before it caught fire and eventually burned to the frame.Band member Russell Allen saw Rains coming out of the RV with her clothing on fire and wrapped a piece of carpet around her as he tried to put out the flames.Several people, including a U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal and some nurses, stopped to help.

Help us grow by sharing this article!