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Tractor-Trailer Accident Kills Elderly Couple

Posted on October 8, 2008

This story found its way on the front page of our paper complete with a picture of a smiling, friendly looking elderly couple.

James and Blanch Whiddon had been married for 65 years. They told relatives recently they could never live without each other. After a car accident, they died three days apart last week.

James, 85, and his wife who was 79, were on their way home from the grocery store September 30th. They had gone to dispute a bill, and did many things together.

Just before noon on U.S. 1 a tractor-trailer ran a red light and James, traveling on a green light, drove his pickup under the trailer.

James died at the scene. His wife was hospitalized in a coma. Both had their seat belts on. Blanch died in three days.

She leaves behind her daughter, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “They wouldn’t have been able to survive without each other,” their daughter, Marie Copeland tells Jacksonville.com. “It’s just a tragedy.”

No charges have yet been filed against the truck driver of Massachusetts but certainly an accident reconstruction specialist could put together exactly what happened and why and how much reaction time the victim had.

Looking at the scene, an expert mechanic might want to ask whether all of the light, brakes on the tractor-trailer were working, and what condition the driver was in. Since he was from out of state, how much sleep was he operating with? There might even be driver’s logs and a tracking device on board or a black box recorder.

None of these things bring back the Whiddons and deep grief is not a time most people ask such questions. That’s what an experienced accident attorney does to determine if there is any compensation for the loss of loved ones due to the negligence of others. Regardless, we are truly sorry for the loss of this much loved couple. #