Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mowers on highways — a very bad idea

The Tampa Tribune newspaper on Friday, Nov. 17, reported that a man operating a tractor mowing unit on I-75 about 9 p.m. was the cause of a horrific accident. The paper resports he was driving the unit in the left lane of the 4-lane highway at about 25 mph (the minimum speed limit is 50 mph) causing a couple of vehicles, traveling at highway speed, to slam on their brakes to avoid striking him.

In the mayhem, a pickup truck rear-ended a car and apparently sent it careening into the path of a fuel tanker carrying about 8,000 gallons of fuel.

The tanker exploded, killing the driver of the car. The truck driver escaped his cab before his truck blew up. The explosion, fire and cleanup closed busy I-75 for four hours, reported the newspaper.

The operator of the mowing unit, apparently unhurt, was identified as an employee of a local lawn care company that had a contract to mow the grass in the median strip. He said he was looking for a turn-around so that he could continue mowing the grass in the median. At 9 p.m. in the dark?

An official for the highway department said mowing is typically done between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Click on the headline above for the article in the Tampa Tribune newspaper. — Ron Hall

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