DR. PHILLIPS Even in the wee hours of the morning, the Sand Lake Road interchange for Interstate 4 can be a problem.
At 2:32 a.m. Jan. 22, Ocoee man Juan Carlos Torres, 29, demonstrated that when he ran a red light and struck the back of another vehicle while traveling east, which led to his arrest on DUI charges, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports.
"Arrestee refused to give a breath sample," FHP Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Kim Montes said. "Ironically, the trooper struck is a permanent midnight trooper assigned to locate impaired drivers. She was not injured."
The vehicle Torres struck was the marked FHP patrol car of Trooper Deborah Hawkins, of Orlando.
All three people involved in the crash -- including Torres' passenger, 25-year-old Orlando woman Rebecca Tamm -- were wearing seat belts and uninjured.
The same cannot be said of Michael Gonzalez, 25, of Windermere, who died in a separate incident the night of Jan. 21.
Around 9:20, Gonzalez attempted a lane change with his motorcycle while driving north on Florida's Turnpike in the vicinity of the Orange Blossom Trail interchange -- about six miles from where Torres crashed.
According to FHP reports, Gonzalez drove into the direct path of Kissimmee semi driver Oscar McGee, 44, and the semi hit the back of the motorcycle, knocking Gonzalez off and into the roadway.
Gonzalez's helmet was no help when the semi and a four-door driven by Saint Cloud 23-year-old Charles Dunlow ran over Gonzalez. Dunlow and McGee had seat belts on and emerged unscathed.
The latter incident remains under investigation.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].