An Avon Park truck driver was in the wrong place at the wrong time Tuesday, Oct 1. His truck was one of two vehicles to run over a man who had just survived a single-car crash and then wandered into the roadway.
Florida Highway Patrol reports say Ricky Lynn Mattox, 53, of Avon Park was driving a 2005 Kenworth east on State Road 78 when a man, whose identity has not been released, walked out in front of his truck at about 12:45 a.m.
The man had been driving a Chrysler Town & Country eastbound on State Road 78 approaching Tomato Grade Road. For unknown reasons, the driver crossed over the westbound lane in a northeasterly direction, causing the left side of his car to collide with a guardrail on the north side of SR 78. The car was redirected toward the southeast and began to rotate counter-clockwise while crossing over the eastbound lane. It then entered the south grassy shoulder and struck a tree stump, causing it to again change direction, rotating clockwise. The car then tipped onto its left side as it crashed into a tree.
The FHP reports say the driver got out of his car and walked to the north shoulder of SR 78 and then into the eastbound lane, directly in the path of Mattox’s truck. The victim was thrown into the westbound lane.
A 2003 Chevy Trailblazer driven by 51-year-old Thomas Lee Miller of Okeechobee steered into the westbound lane to go around the truck, running over the victim, who was prone in the center of the westbound lane.
Miller turned around and parked his car in “a protective position” near the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Okeechobee Fire Rescue.