98-year-old driver in deadly wrong-way crash dies
The driver in the crash that killed two teenage girls Tuesday night on Okeechobee Road in St. Lucie County has died, Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed.
Troopers said a 98-year-old driver, Walter Roney, was driving on the wrong side of the road when he crashed into a truck.
17-year-old Britney Poindexter and 18-year-old Santia Feketa were in that truck and died after the collision.
Roney was driving an RV with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. Roney was in critical condition before passing this weekend, but troopers were able to talk with the 75-year-old passenger.
“The last thing she remembers was seeing headlights,” said Sgt. Raymond Stuhr with Florida Highway Patrol.
That woman told troopers they were traveling from Melbourne to Port Charlotte when the crash happened.
“She also shared that they were having some electrical issues with the motor coach itself, some inside interior lights were not working at the time. We believe the headlights were not functioning at the time of the crash,” said Sgt. Stuhr.
Sgt. Stuhr said they are still investigating what exactly caused the crash, when they started heading on the wrong side of the road and how fast they were going at impact.
“It didn't appear that alcohol or drugs were a factor in this crash at all,” said Sgt. Stuhr.
Sgt. Stuhr explained why troopers believe the headlights were not on at the time. “The right front head lamp of the RV was still intact so we pulled the bulb out and there were signs on that, that it was not hot shocked,” said Sgt. Stuhr. He continued, “if the bulb was illuminated it would have shown distorted color and what we call hot shock on that bulb and that was not present.”
However, that woman stated she remembers the headlights were working. She drove from Melbourne until the couple got off 95.
Another concern many had, is if this 98-year-old man should have been driving at all, let alone in an RV.
However, Sgt. Stuhr said Roney had an up to date Michigan license.
“He just recently went through a serious of tests written and actual physical driving and he passed all of those exams,” said Sgt. Stuhr. He added the couple had never traveled this route before.
Sgt. Stuhr said he told the woman about the two teens who died in the crash and he said she was heartbroken.