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Teacher, Students Injured in Crash with Semi-Truck

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Posted on February 7, 2014

On the morning of Tuesday, January 28th, a grade school teacher and two Blake High School students were injured in a traffic accident as a tractor trailer collided with their automobile on Van Dyke Road.

Merritt Tilson, age 40, is a music teacher at Lake Magdalene Elementary School. Tilson was travelling southbound right around 6:28 am onto Van Dyke Road from a private driveway just across from Tobacco Road, according to Hillsborough County deputies. The car pulled out into the path of an approaching semi-truck that was proceeding east on Van Dyke Road.

The commercial truck crashed into the car, according to deputies. Tilson was driving with two passengers in the car, one of them his daughter. The two passengers, Alex Tilson and Katherine Stairs, both age 15, were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and treated for injuries. The truck driver was not injured. Deputies were continuing to investigate the crash. It was not made clear whether either of the drivers were cited in the accident.

Trucking Accident Statistics

  • Semi-trucks are involved in nearly 500,000 motor vehicle accidents each year, according to the US DOT.
  • On average, a trucking accident occurs at least every 16 minutes in the US.
  • A fully-loaded tractor trailer travelling at 55mph requires 300 ft. (length of a football field) to come to a complete stop.

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