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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Franklin Scott Williamson and Titan Lawn Services the company of which he is President of, plus David Buser and Infrastructure Corporation of America the company Buser is a project manager for. They get the award for the following.

GIBSONTON - A maintenance worker mowing after dark on Interstate 75 intruded into traffic, setting off Wednesday's deadly collision between a car and a fully loaded gas tanker, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Franklin Scott Williamson, 28, president of Titan Lawn Services, was mowing hours after his required 4 p.m. stopping time, state officials say. Troopers say his slow-moving tractor was headed south in the inside lane, going about 30 miles an hour under the road's minimum speed.

At 9 p.m., a car approached from behind, going the speed limit, 70 mph. The driver slammed on the brakes.

The car avoided the tractor but was rear-ended by a pickup behind it. The car veered sharply to the right, crashing into the side of a tanker truck, also headed south, with a full load of 9,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, troopers said.

The tanker pulled over, and driver Sarria R. Yury, 39, of Tampa climbed out. Moments later, the tanker and the car exploded. Fire crews could not save the car's driver, and the fire burned for 41/2 hours, said Hillsborough Fire Rescue spokesman Ray Yeakley.

The crash halted traffic, and two people who suffered minor injuries were taken to a hospital, Yeakley said.

Reached at his home, Yury said his company asked him not to talk with reporters. He said he pulled off to the roadside after the collision and saw that the tanker was on fire.

"I got out quickly," he said.

The car involved belongs to a Bradenton family, and the family has been notified, Trooper Larry Coggins said. Investigators are waiting for the medical examiner to identify the victim.

Coggins said no charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing.

Pickup driver Dennis Aaron said he saw the car's brake lights ahead and tried to stop his truck, but it was too late.

Aaron, a golf course maintenance worker and dirt bike racer, and his girlfriend were headed home to Apollo Beach on I-75 after celebrating his 18th birthday at a Hooters in Brandon. He said he drank tea.

Troopers say Aaron wasn't speeding or tailgating when the car in front of him slammed on its brakes.

"It was just, like, instant," Aaron said, recalling the crash Thursday.

As soon as Aaron's truck rear-ended the car, he saw it veer into the tanker, he said.

Aaron wonders why Williamson was mowing so late and why he drove so slowly.

"At night, what can you mow at night?" Aaron said. "I didn't even see him at all."

That's a question that wasn't answered Thursday, said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson.

Williamson's company, Titan Lawn Services, is a subcontractor in charge of mowing I-75 in Hillsborough County. Williamson is the company's president, and he has had a contract for 31/2 months with Infrastructure Corporation of America, a Tennessee company that has a contract with the DOT.

As part of the contract, Williamson agreed to mow only between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., unless he has written permission from the contractor, said ICA project manager David Buser.

"He was specifically excluded from working at night," Buser said.

"We've talked to him this morning and made sure he understands that's a no-no."

Subcontractors are not allowed to mow after dark because it's difficult to see the grass, he said.

"We get a better quality job during the daylight," Buser said.

Williamson also is required to follow state guidelines about the safety lights for his equipment.

"There's no formal inspection unless there's a reason to believe that something was really wrong," Buser said. In Williamson's case, ICA had no reason to think there was a problem, he said.

Buser declined to discuss Williamson's reasons for mowing that night. "If it's related to the crash, I don't want to talk about it," he said.

Well frankly Mr. Buser you said enough already.

Where do we start?

Williamson is mowing an interstate median.

At night.

Driving his mower into the passing lane of a major highway.

And working beyond the hours he is supposed to by contract. This is the Company President!

Buser is a work of art too. He calls Williamson and says what he did was a no-no. That sounds like a father disciplining his five-year-old, not a company speaking to an employee that caused a major automobile wreck that killed one. Since ICA subcontracted Titan, they are partly responsible for this debacle.

The above all speaks for itself. For stupidity and incompetence that resulted in a person's death, Franklin Scott Williamson and Titan Lawn Services the company of which he is President of, plus David Buser and Infrastructure Corporation of America the company Buser is a project manager for, are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

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