CHIPLEY, Fla. (CBS Local) — Three electrical linemen helping restore power in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael were killed Wednesday night by a driver who was allegedly drunk and fled the scene.
Police say John Goedtke was driving north on State Road 77 when his Ford F150 pickup truck went off the road near Talton Drive at around 6:50 p.m. and struck all three pedestrians.
They say Goedtke, 37, of Thonotosassa, Florida, fled the scene. He was later found and detained by deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Three power company employees — George Cecil, 52, of Colerain, North Carolina; James Ussery, 60, of Chipley, Florida; and Ryan Barrett, 22, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina — were working on the power poles off of State Road 77 at Talton Drive on the east shoulder.
Cecil died on the scene. Barrett was taken to Southeastern Medical Center in critical condition and later died there. Both men were employees of Lee Electric Construction, Inc.
Ussery, an employee of West Florida Electric Cooperative, was taken to North Florida Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Goedtke was charged with felony DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide and felony leaving the scene of an accident, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Additional charges are pending, the FHP said.