The National Highway Safety Administration has reported traffic fatalities are on the rise nationwide through the first three months of 2018. Sadly, it appears Brevard County, Florida, is leading the way, with a 25 percent increase through the second week of March and four deaths reported in a single 24-hour period.
Melbourne, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/28/2018 --In the 24-hour period that made up March 11, four people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Brevard County, Florida. One incident was a pedestrian death, while two others were motorcycle accidents.
This continued a trend that many in local law enforcement have become concerned about. The numbers that have been compiled so far this year show that traffic fatalities in Melbourne and the surrounding area have increased by a startling 25 percent over last year.
Lt. Kim Montes, spokeswoman for the highway patrol, noted, "It's a combination of different things, a collection of driver errors. We really don't have an answer why. But drivers have to go back to basics and pay attention to the roadway. We're also seeing a lot more people driving tired."
The first fatality occurred around 1 a.m., when Tyler Barkley, 24, of Rockledge was riding his motorcycle on Interstate 95 and failed to slow as he approached a tractor-trailer from the rear, striking it at a high rate of speed. Barkley was ejected from his bike in what was termed a classic high side crash and died shortly after authorities reached the scene.
The second incident took place at U.S. 1 and Broadway Boulevard at approximately 3:30 a.m. Daniel Wheeler of Cocoa was initially struck by a Chevy Malibu and then subsequently hit by another vehicle that fled the scene. Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene.
At 4 p.m., troopers reported that 87-year-old Richard Basso rode his 2010 Honda through a stop sign just north of Cocoa and was struck by a pickup truck. The truck made contact flush on Basso's right side. Basso was transported to Wuesthoff Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Less than an hour later, at approximately 4:45 p.m. near the entrance of A. Max Brewer Memorial Bridge, it was reported that Jonathan Scott Reuss of Titusville, riding a 2008 Kawasaki road cruiser, had been killed. Reuss was attempting to make a left-hand turn when he was struck by 44-year-old Craig Peterson of Orlando. Peterson had been traveling westbound in his 2014 Dodge Challenger when the incident occurred.
As the latest reports have become available, it seems this week's numbers may not be much better. As the St. Patrick's Day weekend got underway, it had a very shaky start.
On Thursday, two people were injured in a collision between their motorcycle and a truck at the intersection of Angela Lane and South Street in Titusville. Both the driver and his passenger were airlifted to the local hospital.
Saturday at 1:15 p.m. another motorcycle accident was reported on New Haven Road in Melbourne.
According to the Palm Bay Fire Department, a third motorcycle accident occurred on Furth Road in Palm Bay around 1:30 p.m. A female victim was reported thrown from her bike in the collision.
Two other Melbourne collisions involving motorcycles were reported through Sunday morning, but details were not available as of this writing. All cases are currently under investigation by authorities.
Melbourne motorcycle accident lawyer and bike enthusiast Brad Sinclair made these comments when confronted by these reports, "I understand that there are a greater number of bikes in the area due to the happenings up the road in Daytona, and I'm sure St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday hasn't helped any, but to be honest, I am shocked. To know so many brothers and sisters have fallen this week is very disheartening. I can only say that my thoughts and prayers will be with them and their families."