Tampa Rideshare Trip Gone Wrong Takes Two Lives

According to state data, distracted driving crashes accounted for 333 deaths in 2021. The United States had over 1000 distracted driving accidents weekly the previous year. More than 3,100 people perished, with another 424,000 injured from distracted driving.

One Monday morning in July 2022, a crash on a Tampa Road exit ramp killed Daniel Whitefield and Tracy Carson. Daniel Whitfield boarded an Uber driven by Tracy Carson and was en route to the airport when a pickup driver looking for his phone collided with Carson’s car.

When Tracy Carson picked up Mr. Whitfield early that morning at his home in St. Petersburg, they didn’t know each other. Whitfield was on his way to catch a flight at the Tampa International Airport heading to Washington, D.C. They had a lot to talk about, including Whitefield’s youngest child celebrating her first anniversary, his copyrighting job, and his recently published debut novel. In the time they spent together, Carson shared that she served in the United States Air Force and loved to travel the world.

Around 7 in the morning, they passed the Howard Frankland Bridge and stopped because of the traffic jam on the off-ramp from the intersecting roads. According to troopers, a pickup truck crashed into the 2021 Toyota Camry’s rear side. 

Whitfield, 39, and Carson, 53, died on the scene.

The victim’s estate representatives have filed a wrongful legal process against the driver of the pickup truck, as well as his employer, claiming his carelessness caused the accident. The fatal accident is yet another warning story of the danger of driving while being distracted by other things. 

The crash report indicates that the driver admitted that when the accident occurred, his phone had fallen in the car, and he attempted to pick it up. With his attention on finding his phone, suddenly he rammed into Carson’s vehicle.

Mr. Daniel Whitfield

Whitfield was a man with ambitions to have a large family and become a renowned author. He achieved both.

Daniel Whitfield was a native of Birmingham, England. In his childhood, he had different tastes; he acted and sang in musical comedies, Operas, and Shakespearean plays. He also loved professional wrestling, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars.

After graduating from the University of Nottingham, Daniel won an endowment to study at the University of Wisconsin. He studied Japanese and American history and lectured on British history in a support staff capacity. His intention was not to stay in the U.S., but he went for a trainee job in Washington, D.C, where he met his wife, Nena.

Later, he was employed at Eberle Communications Group in McLean, which provides copywriting and fundraising services. In 2014, he married Nena, and they welcomed their first child, Dagny, in the subsequent year. He would have two more daughters; Magnolia and Zora.

Whitfield published “Eagle Ascending” in 2021, his first novel. The novel is an exciting story about a cop in New York investigating a fatal Jewish Museum bombing. The cop would later discover that a notorious Nazi general, his grandfather, is among the people involved in the bombing. Whitfield’s second novel was complete and will be made public in 2023.

On the dawn of the fateful day, Nena Whitfield could not understand why her husband did not send his usual text message indicating that he had boarded the airplane and was almost taking off. Around that time, a state highway patrol officer visited her home to deliver the message.

In a Facebook post, Nena remembered how Whitfield would bring her flowers from the supermarket. In a different Facebook post, Nena said that she was in the middle of the desolation and acceptance stage of the grief of her husband’s demise.

Remembering Mrs. Tracy Carson

The eulogy for Carson highlights that she pursued adventurous life. Carson, born in Illinois, was an officer in the United States Air Force, who served in Maryland, California, and South Korea. She was employed in the government after retiring from the Force and built a coffee outlet later. She traversed and camped in most parts of the world before settling in St. Petersburg.

She was remembered as a strong, kind, funny, and intelligent person. She preferred the outdoors and loved scuba diving, skiing, and skydiving. Carson had three children, one of which was a minor at the time of her demise.

Howard Hientzelmeier Dropped His Cell Phone

The morning when Carson and Whitfield were stuck in a traffic jam on the ramp exiting the road, Howard E. Hientzelmeier followed them in a Dodge Ram Pickup (2021). The pickup belonged to Sunroom, a solar cells firm who employed Mr. Hientzelmeier.

Regarding the initial crash report, the pickup slammed into the back of Carson’s car, spinning it around and forcing it against the road barrier. The pickup then slammed into the rear side of a Hyundai Sedan, leading to a back-end crash involving three more vehicles.

According to the trooper’s report, Mr. Hientzelmeier said that he had dropped his phone within the cab of the vehicle and attempted to find it at the time of the crash. The record states that he operated the truck negligently or carelessly, but is yet to be charged criminally because of an ongoing investigation of potential traffic homicide.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Federal officials consider distracted driving a health menace, and the organization mandated to prevent and regulate disease has addressed the threat on its platform. From 2010 to 2019, around 3000 people perished annually in crashes resulting from distracted driving, a ratio of roughly one death per day. There are a few things one must know when their Uber gets into an accident, first being to seek medical help for oneself and others, if able. 

The High Patrol and other institutions in charge of highway conduct launched a campaign to deter drivers from engaging with their phones and other interferences while driving.

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