Construction on the 408 in Orlando has been ongoing for a few weeks, with much of the work being done in the early hours of the morning. Early last Tuesday morning, roadwork was being done on the eastbound lanes close to Lake Underhill Road and Conway Road. As usual, construction workers had set up a perimeter of reflective cones to ensure that approaching drivers knew they were entering a construction zone and should slow down. Also at the construction site was a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol. The presence of a police officer at highway construction locations is not abnormal, and this particular officer was inside of their cruiser, monitoring passing vehicles and enforcing the laws of driving through a construction zone.
According to the spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol, Sgt. Kim Montes, at around 2:15am, a 25-year-old named Jetzel Jadiel Ortiz-Freytes was driving down the 408, towards the construction workers and the police officer. Upon reaching the area, Ortiz-Freytes’ car swerved off of the designated driving area and through the traffic cones. Barreling towards the unsuspecting workers, Ortis-Freytes would likely have collided with the construction employees had his trajectory not been stopped by the officer’s patrol car.
Ortiz-Freytes collided directly with the rear of the officer’s cruiser, violently shoving the stopped car forwards, but not far enough to put the construction team in any danger. In order to exit the mangled car, the officer needed to repeatedly kick the door until it opened.
When additional officers with the Florida Highway Patrol arrived at the scene they apprehended Ortiz-Freytes who offered the information that he had been drinking in the hours before the crash. Sgt. Montes said that Ortiz-Freytes willingly underwent a sobriety test at the scene of the accident. After failing to pass the test, Ortiz-Freytes was arrested by the officers. It is believed that he is currently charged with driving under the influence and property damage.
The trooper in the car Ortiz-Freytes hit suffered from a bruised leg and was transported to a nearby hospital, but it is believed that he was discharged later that same day.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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