Published on Thursday, July 14, 2005
in the Suwannee Democrat
As Hurricane Dennis passed through Hamilton County on Sunday, July 10, the rainfall created unsafe driving conditions on several roads, including I-75.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol traffic report, Trooper Brian Creech was completing a traffic crash investigation report while sitting in his patrol car at 5:39 p.m. on Sunday. The patrol car was parked in the emergency lane of northbound I-75, just south of the Alapaha River, with the emergency blue lights flashing.
Brooks D. Tolbert of 918 Collins Ave., Lot 51, Warner Robins, Ga., stated in the report that as she came through a curve and approached the area where the patrol car was parked, the other traffic began to slow down. She stated that she slammed on the brakes and steered to the right to avoid collision with the vehicles ahead of her. Her vehicle then began to hydroplane due to standing water on the roadway causing her to lose control.
According to the report, Tolbert’s vehicle rotated clockwise while sliding towards the right shoulder of I-75. The front of her vehicle struck the left rear corner of the patrol car. As her vehicle continued its rotation, the left front side sideswiped the left rear side of the patrol car. Tolbert’s vehicle then disengaged from the patrol car and continued its clockwise rotation coming to a final rest in the center lane of I-75 facing southeast.
Several other vehicles began sliding after the initial crash resulting in two more crashes.
During this time, Trooper Creech ran from his patrol car to Tolbert’s car and found that she had suffered injuries to her face and foot. She was unable to exit from her vehicle, so Trooper Creech removed her from the vehicle and carried her across the guardrail to safety. He continued first aid until the Emergency Medical Services crew arrived on the scene.
Trooper Creech and Tolbert were transported to Trinity Hospital in Jasper with minor injuries. A passenger in Tolbert’s vehicle, Nicole M. Martin of 730 Alvis Rd., Jacksonville, also suffered minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.