The driver, later identified as 37-year-old John Goedtke of Tampa, was charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident, reported ABC 13.
The three linemen were identified as 60-year-old James Ussery of Chipley, 52-year-old George Cecil of North Carolina, and 22-year-old Ryan Barrett of Roanoke Springs, North Carolina.
While Ussery and Cecil were killed by the crash, Barrett was rushed to the hospital for treatment. However, he ultimately succumbed to the injuries inflicted by the crash.
Police officers captured Goedtke after he fled the scene, and he was booked into the Washington County Jail. Records obtained by Bay News 9 showed that Goedtke has been arrested more than 24 times in Hillsborough County, most recently for grand theft and auto.
Officials said that he struck the three linemen around 6:50 p.m. on Oct. 24 after he left the northbound State 77 roadway near Talton Drive and hit them as they stood in a ditch working to restore power along the road.
Cecil and Barrett were employed with Lee Electric Construction, while Ussery was employed by West Florida Electric Cooperative.
Lee Electrical Construction said in a statement that Cecil had worked for them for approximately six years, “serving as an exceptional foreman for most of that time.”
Was standing in line at Walmart and I get a call from somebody in Ryan Barrett family, and they say Ryan passed away. I dropped everything and fell to the ground. This can’t be true man, you didn’t deserve this. I miss you 💔
— Allison 💗 (@allisonpaige011) October 25, 2018
Barrett “had worked with us for five months but was quickly showing promise in our industry,” the company said.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to their family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this extremely difficult time,” Lee Electric added.
West Florida Electric Cooperative said in a statement, “As we mourn the loss of our friends and coworkers, we ask for your patience and understanding. We remain focused on the recovery and restoration of our electric system while supporting the families affected by this tragedy.”
“We ask that you pray for the families of our fallen comrades and for the safety of our linemen in the field working tirelessly to restore your power,” the company added.