Outdoors Writer Tucker Killed in Florida Wreck

Craig Holt

July 17, 2007 at 10:16 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Tim Tucker, an outdoors writer originally from Gibsonville, N.C. who lived at Cross Creek, Fla., died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Florida.
Photo courtesy of SEOPA
Tim Tucker, an outdoors writer originally from Gibsonville, N.C. who lived at Cross Creek, Fla., died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Florida.
Tim Tucker, 50, an outdoors writer and North Carolina native who lived at Cross Creek, Fla., died from injuries sustained in a July 16 automobile collision with a parked deputy-sheriff’s patrol car.

Tucker, from Gibsonville, N.C., and long-time Florida resident, was a prolific outdoors writer and businessman.

He was senior writer for BASSMASTER Magazine, B.A.S.S. Times, host of “BASS Insider Radio” at Bassmaster.com, outdoors writer for the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, producer of “Bass Sessions Series” of instructional audio tapes, owner of Tim Tucker’s Pro Angling Insider bi-monthly newsletter and an author of nine books. Winner of more than 100 national, regional and state writing awards, Tucker also was a past president of the Southeastern Outdoors Press Association and Florida Outdoor Writers.

The collision occurred in the left-hand, southbound emergency lane of Interstate-75 near Gainesville at approximately 2:20 p.m.

The crash sent 12 people to the hospital, of which Tucker, the driver of a van, later died of his injuries at Shands at the University of Florida.

Apparently returning home from an athletic event with his son Kyle, 10, and a friend, Justin Maddox, 8, Tucker’s van plowed into the back of the parked patrol car. Tucker’s son and Maddox also were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Jody Cail, 30, an Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy, had parked behind a white Dodge Caravan that had pulled over in the left emergency lane because a passenger was having a seizure. Cail, who put on his flashing lights to warn other cars, was directing traffic around the white Dodge.

Tucker, who apparently didn’t see the flashing lights, plowed into the back of Cail’s Crown Victoria with his black Chevrolet Express van.

The accident occurred about a mile south of the Newberry Road exit at I-75, said Sgt. Dan Miller with the Florida Highway Patrol. The crash sent 12 people to the hospital, including Tucker.

Firefighters and paramedics were at the scene to treat the seizure patient and two of the six occupants of the van had exited the vehicle and were standing around the van, according to FHP.

Cail was out of his patrol car trying to wave traffic away from where the paramedics were assisting the seizure patient when Tucker crashed into the deputy’s car.

Cail's patrol car was propelled toward the paramedics and occupants of the white van, and three of the paramedics and one occupant were able to jump across a guardrail and avoid the patrol car.

One of the van’s occupants, Oneitra Delores Carter, 41, of Gainesville, was critically injured when she was pinned between the patrol car and the guardrail. A firefighter/paramedic, Lt. Drew Dabney, 41, of Gainesville, was dragged by the patrol car and suffered serious injuries.

After striking the patrol car, Tucker's black van continued down the road, striking the inside guardrail with the left front corner of the vehicle.

All six passengers in the white van, three of which were under the age of 15, were transported to the hospital after the accident — though all except Carter were reported to have minor injuries.

Florida law requires vehicles to move over a lane if a law enforcement officer or vehicle is on the shoulder or in a travel lane, said Megan Crandall with Alachua County Fire Rescue, but she said motorists are easily distracted and can endanger themselves and others.

“I always tell people they need to be as aware of what’s going on outside their vehicle as what’s going on inside their vehicle,” she said. “We’re all guilty of it, but people routinely get into a zone where they’re not thinking about it.”


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