Crash kills 2 men repairing power lines downed by hurricane

A man faces several charges including DUI manslaughter after the Florida Highway Patrol says his pickup truck struck three utility workers Wednesday evening as they were repairing lines damaged by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle.

Two of the workers – George Cecil, 52, of Cole Rain, North Carolina, and James Ussery of Chipley, Florida – died in the crash. A third man, Ryan Barrett, 22, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, was critically injured, according to a highway patrol news release.

The crash occurred on State Road 77 near Chipley, which is north of Panama City. The pickup truck driven by John Goedtke, 37, of the Tampa area, was heading north when it veered onto the road’s shoulder, striking the workers, Sgt. R.C. Livingston wrote in the incident report.

Goedtke then fled the scene, but was later tracked down and detained by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. He was later arrested by troopers.

Ussery worked for West Florida Electric. Cecil and Barrett were both working for Lee Electric Construction Inc.

Goedtke, who received minor injuries in the crash, is charged with DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide and leaving the scene. Troopers said additional charges are pending.

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