Fatalities as a result of crashes in Collier and Lee spiked in 2015 compared to 2014. The accidents revolved around, driver miscalculations, harsh weather conditions, DUI’s and a myriad of other contributing factors.
The fate of these traffic fatalities was a reality that Sebastian Aguiar had faced. For two months, he had remained by his mother’s bedside in the Lee Memorial Hospital. His mother had survived a fatal crash involving alcohol. However, the accident had robbed her of her husband Leo Benitez.
On Halloween, the mother was discharged from hospital with metal in her legs and her arms. However, what was even more painful was that she was going home without her husband. Calling from Columbia Aguiar reported that the road to recovery had just begun.
He went on to say that his mother was gaining strength in her legs, however, adjusting to the new reality had proven to be an emotional mess. “It’s been ugly”, he said, but he noted that the mother had maintained a good attitude despite it all.
Amid her positive attitude, she could not brush of the thoughts of the criminal and legal battles ahead of her. Samantha Robson, aged 34 years had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, a crime that had resulted in death. The legal process could take years as Aguiar reported that the lawsuits were still pending.
It had been a traumatic season for Aguiar and his mother; however, they were not the only victims of such fatal crashes. Lt. Gregory Bueno speaking on behalf of the Florida Highway Patrol, said that such fatal crashes had been rampant. He reported that speeding, distractions and DUI’s were the key contributors to these fatal accidents.
He went on to say that medical deaths also increase the number of traffic fatalities. These occur say if a driver gets a heart attack when behind the wheels. In Collier, the fatalities had increased from 39 in 2014, to 49 in 2015. The same trend was observed in Lee County, where fatalities had gone up from 81 in 2014, to 95 in 2015.
The statewide figure for accident fatalities had also increased from 2,494 to 2,939 in 2015. This was an increase of about 18 percent.
These alarming statistics were in contradiction with the goals set in 2012. The Florida Department of transportation had set an objective that would see the number of fatalities reduce by 5 percent every year. In 2016, the department had projected and hoped that these fatalities would be reduced to 1,980.
In the meantime, Aguiar and his family had forgiven Robinson for causing the accident, but the emotional healing was going to be a long journey.