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Fiery Crash Kills Two, Intersection to Blame for at Least 5 Deaths Last Year

UPDATE: 7/23/2016, 11:09 A.M. – The victims involved in yesterday’s horrific crash have been identified as John Stevenson, 25, and Donna Adams, 24, both of Lecanto, Florida.

The driver of the garbage truck, 50-year-old Vincent Iverson of Land O’ Lakes, will not face charges.

BROOKSVILLE – Two people are confirmed dead after a collision between a garbage truck and smaller pickup truck at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Blvd and Citrus Way.

According to the owner of Deschamps Corner General Store, Donna Dilling, she and several patrons witnessed the crash that killed two occupants inside a pickup truck.

Dilling says the garbage truck was heading eastbound on Ponce de Leon when the pickup truck traveling northbound on Citrus Way attempted to cross the intersection. The collision caused the pickup to burst into flames and the garbage truck to overturn, says Dilling.

Dilling’s son, Dean Barnett, rushed to the accident scene, pulled one of the burning victims from the driver’s seat, and used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Barnett says the victim appeared to be deceased from the impact of the collision and not from the fire. It is believed that the male victim may have been in his 20’s, says Dilling. A second victim remains inside the vehicle at this time.

Dilling voiced her frustration over the intersection, stating “how many people have to die before they install a traffic light.” Last year five men died in a similar fiery crash and it is believed that they burned alive. At this time there is only a flashing red light and Dilling says drivers can’t see over the hill when trying to cross Ponce de Leon. Dilling says there are at least 5 to 10 near misses every day at that intersection.

We will bring more on this tragic story as it develops.

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  • Food, who are you to advocate so drastically AGAINST these two deceased people?

    People are grieving, their lives are lost and people who loved them will never see them again, myself included.

    Who are you to place blame when it was an accident?

    Your comments are hurtful, counterproductive and, most of all, absolutely uncalled for.

    The words you decided to post are leaving those who knew them sobbing because you’re trying to place blame on an innocent young man who was just trying to help his wife get healthy again.

    It’s sad that you think the anonymity of the internet gives you ANY RIGHT, at all, to say the things you did.

    They are PEOPLE, not just a headline.

    Rest easy, my dear friends. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

    Thursday, 28 July 2016, 4:02 am
  • First prayers and condolences to all of the families. I am a truck driver and travel this road daily and it is very difficult to see traffic coming without having to steer truck opposite way of my travel then back across the intersection then having drivers behind me blowing their horn and trying to pass. There needs to be a traffic light there as well as the next intersection which I passed by today in citrus county. .

    Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 10:35 pm
    • well its good you are using caution and if you have impatient people behind you that cant calm down and relax, well then it is on them. Again its people that need to take an extra moment as you do to make things safer. People are always in such a hurry to go no where quick.

      Thursday, 28 July 2016, 8:01 am
  • I knew Donna through Ehlers-Danlos groups and also recently was diagnosed with a disease that she also had, trigeminal neurlagia, and she was helping me deal with the emotions that come with it. She was an amazing person. JJ loved her more than anything and she loves him so so much too. They both were so great. They will be missed so much, and were so loved in this life. Rest in peace, Donna and JJ.

    Wednesday, 27 July 2016, 12:55 am
  • I never met the victims, and never knew them, I’m not a friend of the family either. What I am however is a concerned citizen that uses hwy 98 sometimes 4 times a day crossing that intersection. I am well aware of “this intersection” and its dangers, one particular time I had to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid killing a motorist and their passengers as they pulled out in front of me after making their complete stop, because “they could not see me”. Its very obvious that you have your opinions and they will not be swayed, fortunately I have facts, supported by the above mentioned county survey. At this point there is nowhere further to proceed it is also where we “agree to disagree”

    Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 8:08 pm
    • I can agree with any intersection having its inherit dangers. I say proceed with caution and you can disagree with that all you want. Its a long intersection to cross. Its not perfect and some one not fully paying attention will have its consequences. We can always make every road safer but the real safety starts and ends with the drivers and if you want to disagree with that than we sincerely have to agree to disagree.

      Thursday, 28 July 2016, 7:56 am
  • #Workssoyoudonthaveto….bravo!

    Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 6:30 pm
  • O.k. We can go on forever on this. I get it someone’s cousins uncle from Lecanto goes through there for 30 years and they say it’s ok. Or better yet the occasional visitor passes through and says “looks good to me!” It takes legitimate studies, to look into whether an intersection is safe, and the time for that is now. 7 people in about a years time is too much. The owners of Deschamps have said the intersection needs changes. I’ve sat there myself fueling up and witnessed 2 near misses. We can sit here and say “oh it’s people not paying attention” and you’re right, as I’ve said before being more diligent and looking twice would have likely prevented this tragedy, of course it would have. With that being said, At the intersection of 491 and hwy 200 the intersection was much the same as this one with an angle of attack that prevents full view of traffic. It’s not until the driver makes a sharp turn to attack the road at a perpendicular angle that you can fully see the traffic. Do you know how many accidents I saw at the 491-200 intersection? 4-5 at least, Guess what they just recently did? They relined 491 and made the stop bar perpendicular to hwy 200. Go look, you can see the old stop bar and the new one, which has moved at least 30 degrees to the right, which is exactly what needs to happen at 491-98. I’ll bet if you ask your cousin’s sister, related by marriage who lives out that way, they’ll tell you the accidents in that intersection have been reduced greatly because the driver’s visibility improved. Listen, again let me reiterate the driver unfortunately is the one who makes and made the last decision in this case, but there’s no reason that the intersection can’t be made safer by relocating the lines and stop bar to help the traffic coming off 491 to see those on 98. Besides what do you have against making the intersection safer? How many more accidents do you personally need to see before some changes are made?

    Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 4:13 pm
    • you can always always make a road location safer. we can put crossing guards out there, we can put all sorts of traffic flow changes, you can put extra lanes and a bridge over the spot to really limit the chances if you want to be so condescending about your responses. Ive driven this many times. Thousands of people do weekly and never have an incident and its not bc of luck. You can clearly see a very far distance if you stop and look before proceeding. He was a new driver with a bunch on his mind. Its terrible it happened but why cant you be logical about what happened. Living in denial doesnt help. Im sure he was probably a great person with many great qualities but the truth is a mistake cost him his life. If you were friend or family and reality hurts to much to confront, I respect your way of dealing with it. If you are a complete stranger, theres just no rationality to blaming everything but the driver.

      Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 6:58 pm
  • Arther I did such and sent information to Tom, it’s a very crazy intersection

    Monday, 25 July 2016, 5:54 pm
    • how is it crazy intersection? Other people here stated they have driven it for 30 plus years with no incident. My parents live up that way. Ive never had an issue. Its a wide open area with plenty of visibility. Its terrible it happened. Its unfortunate. I have compassion for the families involved but its the result of driver error and mistake. He pulled in front of a large moving vehicle and the mistake cost him his life. People already said he was new to driving, and he had other things he was probably concerned about. These factors play a part in the situation. I think the smart thing to do would be take this and learn from it. Stop blaming roads. Im not making fun of the situation or down playing the severity. Im sure he had family and friends that are torn up about it but lets not say he holds no actual responsibility and it was the roads fault. Thats ludicrous and asinine logic.

      Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 7:55 am
  • Before anyone lays blame on either driver, how about just driving to that intersection, park and sit for awhile and watch the traffic flow. It is scary!

    Monday, 25 July 2016, 12:00 pm
    • are you saying the fact traffic exists is scary or the way people handle their driving is scary? Please clarify..

      Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 7:58 am
  • Who gives a crap if they accidentally were at fault? They are dead. It is tragic and just because they made a misstep in driving WHO CARES?!?!? haven’t we all? They are called accidents for a reason. No one purposely dies in a car ACCIDENT!!! Get over your blaming selves

    Sunday, 24 July 2016, 11:05 pm
  • Thos young woman was a friend of mine…we both suffer from the same illness…Trigeminal neuralgia…the most painful disease known to man and has no cure…she was a true warrior and will be missed. Rest in piece Donna..your TN family will never forget you.

    Sunday, 24 July 2016, 4:17 pm
  • I will say, the complete outpouring of individuals who stopped immediately to tend to the victims and crash scene were overwhelming, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m very proud of this community, and they way everyone came together to not only tend to the deceased but to secure the roadway, clean the debris, direct traffic, multiple employees from different local companies helped out. One man, who had also swept the road, covered the deceased with a jacket, and appeared to kneel down and pray next to him after the road was clear. I’m grateful to live in this county, and to see this kind of support from the community in this time of tragedy.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 3:14 pm
  • I’m a family member of one of the deceased. Thank you to everyone that offers their positive, caring thoughts and prayers. It is very disheartening that some people feel the need to place blame in this incident. Comments that the driver must have been going to fast or “dilly dallying” or texting are unnecessary and unproductive. There are appropriate ways to caution others without trying to place blame on people whose families will never see them again. They have grieving mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, etc. Hiding behind your computers and placing blame is such a horrible thing to do. yes, drivers need to be careful, but this is not an appropriate outlet for your careless assumptions. I can’t imagine how one of their mothers would feel reading these awful comments. Please be thoughtful of other people and their loss.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 2:32 pm
  • Condolences to the families.

    People: Please drive defensively, please be patient. What’s going to be the solution when people run the red light IF/WHEN a traffic signal is installed? Not blaming.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 12:12 pm
  • who cares whether it was a dump truck or a garbage truck the fact is two lifes was list their families dont need all this negativity people please have some respect dont matter how it happened or whos fault it was the fact is have respect for two lifes list and for their families for this tragety

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 9:28 am
  • OMG who cares if it was a Dump truck ? or a Garbage truck ?
    How about the lifes that were lost? Just send Prayers and Blessings to all involved!

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 9:20 am
  • First off – Prayers for the victims’ families.
    That said – People, it really doesn’t matter two flips of a lamb’s tail whether it was a dump truck or a garbage truck: it was a large, commercial vehicle that CANNOT stop on a dime when another vehicle places itself in its path. It doesn’t matter if the pickup’s driver ran the sign or couldn’t see the large commercial vehicle, he and his passenger are dead!
    Again, it was a terrible accident…have some respect for those families right now.
    As for your arguments about the intersection, go to the planning commissoner’s meetings, or contact the commissioners about changes. Do your protesting where it counts, don’t just be an insensitive blow-hard on this site when people are grieving!

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 9:10 am
  • @johnny eldorado there were precious lives lost. You have no idea what fully happened and you have no right referring to them as a menace. You should be ashamed.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 8:54 am
  • It’s quite clear based on the narrative & pics that it was in fact a garbage truck. SMFH at what people will argue about. This was a horrible accident & there were lives lost. My heart goes out to the families.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 5:29 am
  • Garbage truck.. I watched it happen, actually I was one of the two with a fire extinguisher putting him and the truck out,And I don’t believe anyone pulled him from the truck..he was ejected, because if so they dropped his black shoe in the road in front of the truck…just saying, it definitely had me shaken up for a while..

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 1:45 am
  • On the FB comments a family member said the driver just recently started driving. Him and his wife died. Very sad. They were so young.

    Saturday, 23 July 2016, 1:33 am
  • It was a garbage truck, there was no “dump truck” involved in the accident. I was also there

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 11:03 pm
  • So let’s be clear: When an accident happens in Spring Hill, it’s ‘drugs’, and when an accident happens in Brooksville, it’s ‘a bad intersection’. You may want to inform the Tourist Centers and Chamber of Commerce.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:53 pm
  • I cross that intersection every day and have for over 30 years.I have never even come close to an accident because I am careful. Today’s distracted drivers are a menace to the roadway.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:23 pm
    • He was not distracted, he was a new driver. How dare you. He was bringing his wife to a treatment for her chronic illnesses. You cannot always just assume because they were young, that they were distracted.They also don’t live in the area, they were from Citrus county.

      Saturday, 23 July 2016, 2:44 pm
  • whoever said there wasn’t a dump truck involved was wrong. I was there. I seen it flipped over in the gas station parking lot. #getyofactsstrait

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:18 pm
  • Food, I agree, I travel through there several times a week for 35 + years with no problems seeing crossing traffic, not the intersection. Prayers to the family

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:17 pm
  • Sending prayers to all involved!

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 9:39 pm
  • Tom I have some data I’d like to share, what email can I send it to?

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 8:50 pm
  • Obviously the intersection itself is “not” to blame in its entirety, It does however play a factor. Enough so that the FLDOT did an analysis on the intersection following last years 5 person fatality. There’s an issue with the intersection as well.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 8:10 pm
  • wait wait intersection to blame? my parents live up this way. Ive traveled citrus way and crossed ponce de leon plenty of times. If you really think there are sight distance issues.. do the rest of the drivers a favor and cut your drivers license up. terrible tragedy i agree but this is driver error not the geography of the land. Im with steve. its human error. the road didnt force any one to crash. thats absolute nonsense. its a long cross over but you need to check to make sure its clear before you go. sympathy to the families involved but lets all be honest. we all had our moments we didnt devote 100 percent focus to the road ahead when we should be. as humans we constantly come up with excuses but facing reality is sometimes the best option regardless if the truth hurts. mistakes can cost lives.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 6:13 pm
  • Bottom line is there is a stop sign and flashing light. You got to stop and wait until it is safe. No amount of money, signs, rumblebstrips will help. People have to stop and wait until it is clear. Period. So many folks just have to hurry across or get out there fast. I do not know what caused this terrible wreck but after 25 years of working wrecks on the fire department I can say that human error is the blame for 99 percentbof wrecks. You can not regulate people into being good drivers.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 5:42 pm
  • its both. the garbage gets dumped in the garbage truck.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 5:27 pm
  • A misjudgment? First off the garbage trucks are governed at 55-62 mph. Even if that truck was doing 70 it wouldn’t be going fast enough for the pickup to make a misjudgment. What happened is likely what happens every other time. Person stopped, or did not stop, either one. They didn’t make that conscious head turn to the right to see the traffic. From where the stop line is, even if you’re stopped completely you have to move your head in order to see the Southbound traffic. If there is a passenger there, it’s nearly impossible to see the traffic at a first glance from that location. It’s an accident, a collision which caused a loss of life, caused by a dangerous intersection and a driver who likely didn’t look twice, barring any mechanical failures, Pretty simple.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 5:23 pm
  • Passing thru, apparently, you are the know it all. I didn’t say they were dilly dalling. I didn’t say the big truck was or was not speeding. And sadly, I know what I’m talking about as I travel that route 12 to 14 times a week. You might want to take your own advice about reading and not commenting, especially if you are here to argue.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 4:42 pm
  • Nothing wrong with Bud Light. I like Bud Light Platinum.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 4:36 pm
  • Go figure, how do you know the truck wasn’t speedingband caused a misjudgment? How do you know someone was “dillydallying”? You’re right, any time someone loses a life it is sad. But what is also sad is how many internet know it alls come out to talk so fast about something they know nothing about. It is ok to read a story and not comment. Prayers going out to the families of all involved.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 4:09 pm
  • It is a bad intersection. I grew up there. The main thing is people are impatient, always in a hurry. Why try to beat a vehicle. Just wait and be safe in stead of dead. If they would stop and look first it would help. RIP to those involved.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 3:28 pm
  • Lol your comment wasnt even the comment I saw. The comments I was referring to were the ones on the RNRF Facebook page. Where one person was continuously telling people over and over again that it was a dump truck. As a matter of fact when I made this post on here it said there were “0” posts. So no it wasn’t aimed towards you gofigure. If it was I would have just used your name. And yes FYI I’m cheap and bud light is my brand lol.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 3:20 pm
  • Sorry Mr. Bud Light, you are absolutely correct, it wasn’t a dump truck but rather a garbage truck. Forgive me for stating that. Smh

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 3:02 pm
  • First off there were “0” dump trucks involved, I read the Facebook comments. Let’s not spread misinformation, secondly I agree with the owner of Deschamps, how many people have to die??!! How do we as a community take charge and make this happen? How many more accidents like this need to happen? Hills on almost all 4 sides make this intersection extremely dangerous. How many hundreds of thousands have been made off red light cameras in Brooksville? I think I found a place to spend the money!! It’s time people, it’s time! R.I.P. To the driver and passenger in the truck.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 2:46 pm
    • I agree on all counts.

      Friday, 22 July 2016, 3:48 pm
  • This is horrible. Condolences to the families involved. The unfortunate fact is, the pickup more than likely ran the signal. I agree, there should be better warning of the approaching intersection: rumble strips, signage, something.
    I always tell my kids, be patient and be observant. A couple extra mins or that text is not worth it. Be safe out thereI

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 2:28 pm
  • A loss of any lives is sad. However people need to learn how to drive in Hernando County. The accident last year was the result of someone running the stop sign southbound on Citrus Way killing the individuals traveling westbound on Ponce De Leon.  The accident today was a result of someone trying to beat the  dump truck.  They ran the stop sign or did not take off fast enough to get across fast enough to beat the dump truck.  If you are stopped at the sign, you can see vehicles coming over the hill.  You can’t dillydally crossing the road.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 2:23 pm
    • How do you know? Hope you never have to lose someone and people just always want to blame

      Saturday, 23 July 2016, 9:15 pm
      • People are always to blame. People running through intersections like that are risking their lives.
        Traffic lights actually make intersections more dangerous. People let those lights make their decisions for them.

        Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 12:23 am
  • This intersection is so scary. Prayers for everyone involved.

    Friday, 22 July 2016, 2:23 pm

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