Driver of semi is ‘devastated’ after fatal accident yesterday: UPDATE
SEE UPDATE, BOTTOM OF PAGE
WHITE CO.—A spokesperson for the company employing a truck driver involved in a fatal accident this morning has reported to Disclosure that the driver is “devastated” after the tragedy.
The accident, which happened at the intersection of Highway 1 and Main Cross in Carmi at about 9 a.m., occurred when a woman, Floella Seitz, 81, went to walk across the highway and, crossing against the red light, was struck by a semi driven by Bret Harrawood, 35, of Raleigh.
Seitz was declared dead at the scene a short time after the incident.
Disclosure was able to talk to a spokesperson at the company for whom Harrawood was driving, Compressed Energy Systems (CES) in Eldorado, who was able to explain exactly what happened as the information was obtained from those at the scene, Carmi officials, and Harrawood himself.
At about 9 a.m. this morning (10.17.12), Harrawood, driving the semi southbound on Highway 1, was crawling to a stop at the intersection as the light was red. He had just reached a complete stop when his light went green. As he was shifting up while accelerating, Mrs. Seitz stepped into his lane and was struck.
The spokesperson commended the city of Carmi and its employees in the city building, located just to the west of the accident scene. She stated that many employees came out of the offices in the city building to assist Harrawood shortly after first responders were tending to Mrs. Seitz. The spokesperson reported that at this point, Harrawood was in shock and the ladies at the offices were bringing him water and seeing to it that he was able to function in the minutes after the accident, as law enforcement would need him to be of a clear enough mind to be interviewed.
Harrawood was shortly thereafter taken to the city police department just up the street on Main Cross and voluntarily submitted right away to a breathalyzer (as is routine in such accidents). The spokesperson noted that he actually took two breathalyzer tests, as the first one would not print out results due to a printer issue. The second one printed, and offered up zeroes for BAC.
Investigator Donna Huber interviewed Harrawood at length and following this, she advised that there would be no tickets issued now or in the future against him, declaring that there was no fault on his part as the driver, and he was free to go. The Department of Transportation was on-scene at the time and did a thorough check of the truck while Harrawood was being interviewed.
The CES spokesperson reported that out of an abundance of caution, their company drug testing representative was called, and an emergency blood screen was ordered for Harrawood and was conducted.
The spokesperson also advised that Harrawood sought prayer counseling after the incident, and while he is “very shook up; devastated and heartbroken,” the counseling did some good. He will be taking a few days off before returning to work, however.
Funeral services for Floella Seitz will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 20 at the Cook Funeral Chapel in Carmi with burial in White County Memorial Gardens near Carmi. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 19 at the Cook Funeral Chapel in Carmi.
We have been contacted by Randy Hamblin, Carmi Chief of Police, who has advised the following for clarification:
Your coverage of the tragic accident in our town yesterday is pretty accurate, but I can offer a few minor clarifications if your interested. One, Donna Huber is one of my Officers here at the Carmi Police Department and we’re handling the accident. I called a motor carrier safety officer from the ISP to do a truck inspection, just as a matter of being thorough, and we aren’t trained on inspecting semi trucks. (Btw, preliminary results didn’t show anything that would have affected the accident.) The first breath test was one I administered right after the accident (just as a routine precaution) and it was a portable breath test that can’t print. We did have several good witnesses, thankfully, that are giving us good statements. I did feel very sorry for the driver, he was terribly distraught. Your coverage on that is spot on. I don’t know him personally but he seemed like a good guy. From everything we’ve been able to determine so far, (with witnesses and other physical evidence) he wasn’t doing anything wrong or untoward at the time of the accident. We also had at least one other witness who was so distraught from having seen this horrible accident, that he had to leave work early and go home. I feel for the family of the deceased as well during this time of loss. Again, just some clarification if your interested, call anytime and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have.
Respectfully, Randy Hamblin
We thank Chief Hamblin for setting certain points straight; the CES spokesperson was very distraught and got a couple of points wrong (like from which agency Officer Huber was; but that was minor). We do appreciate all the kind input folks have given since yesterday morning, which exempts the ones who have given UNKIND input, something that’s very tacky following such a tragedy, but which happens, as there are just tacky and unkind people out there.
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