Oakland man arrested 11 months after fatal Christmas Day wrong-way crash on Turnpike

By: Chip Skambis

Updated:

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - An Oakland man is facing a DUI manslaughter charge after troopers say he caused a fatal wrong-way crash on Florida's Turnpike Christmas day, court records show.

Hubert Gaye, 68, was arrested Friday, 11 months after the crash. Troopers said the length of the investigation can be attributed to the high number of fatal crashes in 2016. There were 125 in Orange County alone. 

The lead investigator on the case was working 20 traffic homicides from 2016. 

FHP said it also took some time to determine Gaye's blood-alcohol level because of high blood sugar. 

The crash killed a woman after the car she was in was hit by Gaye, who was driving the wrong way in the southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike near Colonial Drive in Orange County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Read: Woman killed in head-on, wrong-way crash on Florida's Turnpike

The severity of the wreck, which happened just before 10 p.m. caused the south lanes to be completely closed for more than five hours.

Troopers did not say how Gaye ended up driving his 2003 Nissan SUV north in the south lanes of the highway.

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His vehicle hit a 2013 Honda Civic, driven by Dwain Byrd, 32, head-on, FHP said. Byrd received minor injuries in the crash, troopers said.

A passenger in the Honda, Vida Linton, 63, of Margate, was killed, troopers said. 

Watch: Woman killed in head-on, wrong-way crash on Florida's Turnpike

 

A third vehicle became involved when its driver, Donald Wiggins, 41, could not avoid the crash, investigators said.

Wiggins, a musician from Wisconsin on his way to Key West, told Channel 9 that his wrist was broken in the crash. 

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Wiggins was behind Linton’s car and he said Gaye hit his car, too.

“All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got hit by the car that was headed this way on my left,” Wiggins said. “I was covered in glass. I broke my wrist in a couple of places and dislocated it. Looked pretty crazy.”

Wiggins was supposed to play a New Year’s Eve show, but he was in the hospital unable to play or make a living.

“It is the way I make my living is playing music live. So I'm not going to be able to do that for a month, if not, three months,” Wiggins said.

Source: Orange County Jail

Channel 9 found out that Gaye had been arrested twice on charges of DUI.

In a July 2015 arrest, Winter Garden police reported his blood alcohol level was 0.147.

Gaye also received minor injuries in the crash and was checked for alcohol impairment, FHP said.

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