Driver Ticketed for Deadly Shands Bri...

Driver Ticketed for Deadly Shands Bridge Crash

There are 78 comments on the First Coast News Jacksonville story from Jun 12, 2007, titled Driver Ticketed for Deadly Shands Bridge Crash. In it, First Coast News Jacksonville reports that:

By Kristin Smith First Coast News CLAY COUNTY, FL -- The driver of a pickup has been cited by the Florida Highway Patrol for a crash that killed three children near the Shands Bridge.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at First Coast News Jacksonville.

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Dina DeCola

New Port Richey, FL

#1 Jun 12, 2007
I am one of Michael and Anniemarie's Aunts and I can't even begin to state how outraged I am at the fact that the man who KILLED my niece and nephew just got two traffic tickets. Gene Polite destroyed my sister and brother-in-laws lives. He needs to be held accountable for what he has done. My 2 year old son will never get to know his cousins because of him. Not to take away from the Bryant family, I truely feel for there loss as well, but Mr. Polite should have made sure that Victoria had her seatbelt on. Any Parent or Adult in their right mind would check and make sure a child was seatbelted in before putting the car in drive and to believe that the State of FL intrused this child in his care is really sad.
Dina DeCola

New Port Richey, FL

#2 Jun 12, 2007
I am one of Michael and Annemarie’s Aunts and I can't even begin to state how outraged I am at the fact that the man who KILLED my niece and nephew just got two traffic tickets. Gene Polite destroyed my sister and brother-in-laws lives. He needs to be held accountable for what he has done. My 2 year old son will never get to know his cousins because of him. Not to take away from the Bryant family, I truly feel for there loss as well, but Mr. Polite should have made sure that Victoria had her seatbelt on. Any Parent or Adult in their right mind would check and make sure a child was seat belted in before putting the car in drive and to believe that the State of FL entrusted this child in his care is really sad.
Lisa

AOL

#3 Jun 12, 2007
Polite caused this accident and he was also responsible for not having the 8 year olds seat belt on. I wonder what his driving record is? He should face more severe punishment in my opinion.
Melissa

Middletown, OH

#4 Jun 12, 2007
First my thoughts and prayers go out to both families. I cannot believe that he was given 2 tickets for this accident, something he did caused him to cross the center line and took the tragic lives of 3 kids, who have yet to experience what really life is. I am sorry but he should have had Victoria in a seatbelt. Why is he only getting a ticket for that, he killed that poor child with his reckless driving. Secondly, he also took the lives of Michael and Ann Marie no amount of time on a suspend license or any fine will bring these 3 children back to their families. Yes accidents happen, but something happened here that made him cross the center line and there are only several possibilities to this, reckless driving, driving under/while influenced or intoxicated, health condition, or mechanical. And I cannot believe that I heard at the end of this interview the police don't think alcohol was a factor, was he not tested, where I live its mandated in all fatal accidents that drug/alcohol testing is done. I am sorry but stricter laws need to be enforced in Florida. This man took the lives of 3 children from careless and possibly reckless driving, and I totally don't understand why he isn't being charged criminally for the death of the child in his vehicle that he irresponsibly didn't place in seat belt, and for the death of the 2 children in the other vehicle on the opposite side of the road!!! Well if they aren't going to charge him criminally they need to take his license away for good!!!!
Andrea from Mississippi

Tupelo, MS

#5 Jun 12, 2007
There are just no words!! This man KILLED three innocent children, and he gets a ticket?!? This horrifies me and makes me never want to travel in Florida with my children ever again! My heart goes out to all families, but this man should, at the very least, serve time for vehicular manslaughter.
Amanda

Philadelphia, PA

#6 Jun 12, 2007
What I do not understand is how a man can be traveling on the wrong side of the road and not be held responsible for three deaths? Does a ticket justify taking lives of the innocent? How can his careless driving and not safely securing a child in a vehicle not be just cause for additional charges? He killed three children, as well as injuring many others, and receives nothing. What has become of justice in this country? My heart goes out to the families of those involved.
Melisa

United States

#7 Jun 12, 2007
It is a sad world that we live in when a person who kills 3 innocent children just gets a couple of tickets. He needs to be held accountable and charged with manslaughter!!!
Betty

United States

#8 Jun 12, 2007
What planet is the Brandt/Polite family from?
He did "NOTHING WRONG"!
Are you kidding me?
He was responsible for an 8 year old child, of which wasn't in a seat belt!
She died because of his NEGLECT!
Her death was PREVENTABLE and yet they call themselves "victims". Victoria was a victim at the hands of Mr. Polite!
By putting that car in drive without having a child restrained is RECKLESS!
There is no doubt in my mind, that man should be held responsible for the deaths of those children!
Heck, Paris Hilton got more time then him and she didn't even KILL anyone!
Oh and since when is crossing a double yellow line into on coming traffic NOT neglectful OR reckless?
The Buttafuoco family were innocent victims! They were here on vacation and visiting with family. They didn't ask for this! That poor family, having to pick up the broken pieces and chaos that this man created. Is this really the BEST we can do, to give this family peace of mind? To me it sounds more like an insult! Kick them while they are down! It sickens me that this man continues to live his life with a slap on the wrist and yet those children are gone, the family is left with not only empty arms and broken hearts but, no answers "why". If I were the Buttafuoco family, I wouldn't let this go! Something has to be done and this man may have to be made an example of to get results! Here is another thing, why does Mr. Polite hide if he is innocent of any wrong doing? I have yet to see his face or even comment from him during this whole ordeal. I say be a man Mr. Polite, make it right so this family can have peace! Tell them what they need to hear and an apology wouldn't be a bad idea either!
Angry and Outraged

AOL

#9 Jun 13, 2007
Probation and community service for having caused 3 deaths, including a child in his own car who was not belted in? Something is wrong with a world where this person is able to walk free. Just think, he could be out there on the roads right now. But don't worry folks, maybe he'll learn his lesson NEXT time he kills three children.
The Truth

Jacksonville, FL

#10 Jun 13, 2007
Well, he was driving a pickup truck. That alone says hes was un-educated and basically a low IQ scar to society. Hopefully he'll kill himself out of guilt.
shooter

United States

#11 Jun 13, 2007
The Truth wrote:
Well, he was driving a pickup truck. That alone says hes was un-educated and basically a low IQ scar to society. Hopefully he'll kill himself out of guilt.
you are a moron what does driving a pickup have to do with anything dummy dummy dummy
The Truth

Jacksonville, FL

#12 Jun 13, 2007
shooter wrote:
<quoted text>
you are a moron what does driving a pickup have to do with anything dummy dummy dummy
Can't you read dummy.

70% of Ford and Chevy pickups in Florida are driven by redneck high school dropouts who are either construction workers, lawn cutters or plumbers. Thier un-educated brains then causes them to do stupid things that no intelligent and self respecting person would do.

capiche?

xoxox
Grace

Lac-mégantic, Canada

#13 Jun 13, 2007
Someone needs to stand up for these children. They are the victims, not Mr. Polite.

I find it sad and injust that he should not have to pay for his actions. It is a tragedy that in a country like America, criminals are defended and the children pay for wrecklessness.

Mr. Polite needs to pay for his actions, whether they were done intentionally or not. When he put little Victoria in the car, he should have buckled her in, and whatever way you want to look at it, driving in the wrong lane was wreckless.

If this was my family, I would go to the highest courts and make sure that justice is served.

God bless these poor children and their families.

Grace
Angry and Outraged

AOL

#14 Jun 13, 2007
Folks, let's not attack each other here. As far as I can tell there's only ONE moron in this scrnario and even if he had been driving something else he'd still be a moron.

Save your anger for this guy's lack of remorse and responsibility. Don't get angry at each other, get angry that whatever he's driving these days, this guy is still out there and not behind bars where he belongs.
Upset in Florida

United States

#15 Jun 13, 2007
I can not believe that someone could not buckle a child up and only receive a TICKET after they are in an accident and that child was killed?? Is that really how our laws are written? It was a RECKLESS act that killed not only his adoptive daughter, but 2 other innocent children. My heart goes out to these children, who depend on US to make adult decisions to KEEP them safe. It was irresponsible and reckless what the driver did and should have more of a punishment that what was given.
Jennifer Parmer

New Albany, IN

#16 Jun 13, 2007
I have been following this story from the beginning and I think this should be an outrage that this man who caused the accident and death of 3 innocent children walks away with two traffic tickets! I'm sorry but I believe if this happened my state he would be on trial for vehicular manslaughter! We get a $75 ticket for not having a seatbelt on, I can't imagine what trouble we would be in for letting an 8 year old sit in the front seat unbelted and die from our neglect!!(I live in IL) Something needs to be done about this, this should not be okay with your state, or your people. This is heartbreaking that no one cares about the death of these 3 children! And I also know that this man has a bad driving record, so why does he get with this? Why is he still even allowed to drive and risk YOUR children being killed and everyone else's at that?! He already killed his own kid, and 2 others and everyone just looks away, so pathetic. SO sad, I'm so happy I do not live in Florida.
Tammy Hammons

Grubbs, AR

#17 Jun 13, 2007
I'm trying to respond calmly and that's hard to do because I'm outraged. What part of "no seat belt on an 8 year old and crossing a double yellow line" does not warrent careless and reckless driving???
I'm so so sad for the Buttafucos. They took time to tether the carseats in to their van. They had both children secure in every way possible, but there was NOTHING that could have saved those children when Polite's truck RIPPED INTO their van and plowed into those children breaking them lose from their own seats and it looks like he even ripped the ceiling out.

Poor Victoria...such a beautiful child and noone even cared to buckle her up. She did not have to die that day. A simple "CLICK" would have saved her.

I hope this man has to pay for his CRIMES in the court. Florida needs to crack down on seatbelt laws for children.

This whole story is disgusting and just becomes more so every time I see a new story.

My prayers are with the family that was on vacation and did everything right.

I pray for justice for the children.
broken hearted Nana

Bronx, NY

#18 Jun 13, 2007
These were my precious little grandchildren, whom my husband & I took down to FL to show them a good time. How do you live with the guilt of taking them to thier deaths?
My family is so devastated, everyday I get calls from one of my children crying that they are having a lot of trouble dealing with this tragedy. I know the Brandt family must be suffering a great deal as well, but I am having a hard time to find it in my heart to forgive Mr. Polite, he took something very precious from us and I don't even have an explanation as to what caused him to swerve into us. We were the only 3 cars on the road and he struck us all! My other two grandchildren that survived are suffering a great deal, because not only did they witness this mess, they were a part of it. Annemarie & Mikie were their cousins and best friends. I still can't believe he wasn't speeding. I know the road conditions have a lot to do with the accident and I beg the transportation department to improve those conditions so this doesn't happen to someone elses children.
Irene

Copiague, NY

#19 Jun 13, 2007
Gene Polite wasn't driving wrecklessly? I'd say crossing the yellow line into oncoming traffic and killing three children is pretty wreckless. He destroyed 3 young lives and devasted an entire family. How many more lives does it take? A slap on the wrist just won't do. Pay up murderer
Kelly

AOL

#20 Jun 13, 2007
My heart goes out to the families of all 3 children. I just can't beleive that a fine is the propper punishment for this man. I'm not in anyway saying that he should be strung up in the town square but come on, a fine. These were beautiful children with so much life ahead of them. Families that love them so much will never know what they could have become. Why on earth in this day and age would you not buckle a child into a car seat. It's just what you do each and every time you get behind the wheel. Mr. Polite did lose a child and I'll agree that he is also grieving, but he lost a child because of his neglect. The Buttafuco's are innocent victims. They followed the law and yet they've lost their children at the hands of this law breaking, reckless man. It is just so unfare. If Florida laws are this lenient you better close your borders now or every idiot in the country will move there. This man killed people, children. To me that is a crime punishable by much more than a $400 fine!!!

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