PLANT CITY, FL (WFLA) – The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the two victims who were killed in an early morning crash on State Road 39 north of Plant City.
They were identified as 29-year old Edward Garrett Gottschall and his wife, 37-year old Nalee Yang, of Lakeland.
Investigsators say at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, 47-year old David Thomas Flanagan was driving a 2008 Hyundai Sonata northbound on State Road 39 when he failed to stop for an Isuzu Ascender SUV traveling ahead of him at a slower rate of speed. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Sonata slammed into the rear of the Isuzu Ascender. The force of the crash sent the Sonata into the southbound lane and into the path of a Toyota Corolla occupied by Gottschall and Yang.
Gottschall and Yang were pronounced dead at the scene. The three occupants of the Isuzu, Amy and Stanley Dudek and their 1-year old daughter, Sophia, suffered minor injuries.
Paramedics rushed Flanagan to a hospital in Zephyrhills, where he was treated for his injuries. Flanagan was later arrested for two counts of DUI manslaughter and one count of driving while his license is suspended.
Michael Carmona stumbled upon the scene early Saturday morning and returned to reflect on what he’d just witnessed.
“They hadn’t even pulled the people out of the car yet. It was like it just happened,” Carmona said.
“Even the truck was starting to catch on fire, so it was a little chaotic when I first got here,” said Carmona, who motioned to where the Corolla came to rest. “Once I got over there to where the car was, I knew somebody didn’t make it.”