News Briefs

Two-vehicle accident kills Florida septic truck operator

News Briefs

A septic truck crash on Dec. 18 in Orange County, Florida, killed one person and injured another according to Florida Today. The driver of the septic truck carrying two portable restrooms died after crashing the truck into a parked car on State Road 520.

The driver of the truck, 25-year-old Robert Ratliff of St. Cloud, Florida, was pronounced dead at the scene after the truck rolled and ejected him from the vehicle. Ratliff was not seat-belted at the time of the crash, according to Florida Today.

The car, a Camaro, was parked on the south shoulder in the eastbound direction when the septic truck hit it from behind. The Camaro driver, William Cannon, was asleep in the car’s back seat at the time of impact and suffered only minor injuries.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are being felt by the National Park Service and, in particular, the park service’s ability to provide public sanitation. Initially the Trump administration pledged to keep the parks as open as possible in spite of the shutdown’s forced furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal workers — including many park-service rangers and other staffers — states a PBS News Hour report.

However, the ongoing shutdown — now in its 11th day — forced officials at Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks to begin closing campsites or limiting park access as visitors continue streaming in. Many park restrooms have been closed as they begin overflowing, and trash has become a problem at campsites and popular destinations within the parks. Along with the restroom closures have come reports of visitors publicly defecating in the parks.

Local business owners are attempting to step in and mitigate the damage to the parks. “The whole community has come together,” Joshua Tree-area business owner Ethan Feltges tells PBS by phone. “Everyone loves the park. And there’s a lot of businesses that actually need the park.” Feltges’ efforts include placing a portable restroom outside his business for park visitors and stocking still-open restrooms within the park.


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