A 22-year-old electrical lineman from Roanoke Rapids was critically injured in a hit and run crash which resulted in the deaths of two others working with him to restore power in the Florida Panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
One of the men who died in the crash was from Colerain in Bertie County and worked with Ryan Barrett, the man who was critically injured, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times.
Barrett was taken to Southeastern Medical Center in critical condition.
A source close to Barrett and his family said the family did not want to comment on the situation but did say prayers were needed for him.
Barrett and George Cecil, one of the men who died, worked for Lee Electrical Construction, whose home base is in Aberdeen.
The crash occurred Wednesday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The Times reported 37-year-old John Roland Goedtke, of Thonotosassa, Florida, faces multiple charges in the crash, including vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.
The FHP reported Goedtke was towing a U-Haul trailer behind a 1997 Ford F-150 as he drove north on State Road 77, south of Interstate 10 between Chipley and Wausau, which the Times reported was one of Florida’s most storm-battered areas.
Around 6:50 p.m., troopers said, Goedtke hopped onto the east shoulder of State Road 77.
Cecil, the 52-year-old lineman from Bertie County, and James Ussery, a 60-year-old West Florida Electric lineman from Chipley, who also died, were working to restore power.
As Goedtke crossed Talton Drive, still on the highway’s shoulder, he struck the three lineman, troopers said. He did not stop to help or check on the men, but kept driving on the shoulder until he wound up in a ditch.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Goedtke ran from the truck after he drove into the ditch, but was spotted by a Chipley police officer. He was arrested and taken to Washington County Jail.
Hillsborough County Jail records show Goedtke has 27 arrests since 2000 on charges ranging from drug possession, driving with a revoked license, and multiple counts of domestic battery, the newspaper reported.