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Truck driver dies after veering off road

His truck loaded with wood leaves the pavement and snaps power lines before crashing into a tree.

By JONATHAN ABEL
Published November 18, 2005

SPRING HILL - Al Martucci and his son, Joshua, were landscaping a yard Thursday afternoon at the corner of Pike Avenue and Landover Boulevard when they heard what sounded like lumber falling off a truck.

They turned around to see a truck, loaded with wood, driving off the left side of Landover. It snapped through telephone poles "like toothpicks," said Al Martucci, and came to rest only after smashing into a pine tree. Downed power lines set fire to the grass. The driver was pinned down in a crushed cabin.

"I called out to him and tried to get a response," said Martucci, who said he's seen his share of ugly crashes in the 20 years he drove a truck.

The driver, Cory Ramsdell, 26, of 6415 Massachusetts Ave., Lot 8, New Port Richey, was dead at the scene, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Troopers were investigating the cause of the crash.

Ramsdell had been driving for Stock Building Supply in Hudson for three months, said office manager Marie Whitney. He was headed east on Landover in a 1986 Mack truck to deliver wood to a construction site in the Sterling Hill development.

"He was a good guy with a couple of kids," said Chris Pedrick, 25, another driver for the company, who heard the crash on a radio and headed to the scene. "He was just talking to us about bringing a couple kids to the zoo."

Nicole Slavik, 26, who lives on Pike Avenue, ran to the cab of the truck to check the driver's pulse. She grabbed Ramsdell's arm, but there was no pulse. She said he suffered major head injuries.

Packed with lumber, the flatbed truck leaned left into the woods. Behind it, power lines lay across the street.

A small fleet of FHP cars, Hernando County Sheriff's Office cruisers and Spring Hill Fire Rescue trucks surrounded the scene. Utility trucks had to be brought in to fix the fallen wires.

Neighbor Karen Rubba said her street has long been a "ticking time bomb" for traffic accidents.

"People shoot the stop signs here all the time and get T-boned," she said, referring to the stretch of Landover as an "airstrip."

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or 352 754-6114.

[Last modified November 18, 2005, 01:28:17]


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