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Man charged in fatal January traffic accident

By Staff | Mar 30, 2011

A driver has been cited in a January traffic crash that killed an off-duty corrections officer who was reportedly speeding at the time.
Patrick S. McKart, 21, of 1745 Red Cedar Drive, Apt. 3, Fort Myers, was cited for a violation of right-of-way in the Jan. 12 accident that resulted in the death of Scott E. Wheeler, 24, of Fort Myers. Wheeler sustained fatal injures after being ejected from the motorcycle that he was operating.
According to the traffic homicide report released Wednesday by the Cape Coral Police Department, McKart was found at fault for violating Wheeler’s right-of-way, while Wheeler’s “excessive speed” contributed to the crash.
McKart declined to comment Wednesday on the citation.
“Currently, the investigation is still ongoing,” he said.
McKart added that he may have a comment at a later date.
Spencer Crutchley, Wheeler’s brother-in-law, was aware of the citation.
“The family is very glad that they finally finished the investigation over the accident,” he said.
Crutchley continued that his family would like to see more done.
“Unfortunately, that’s not going to bring Scottie back, and that’s not going to bring a stoplight to that intersection,” he said.
Wheeler was driving a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle east on Pine Island Road when he collided with a 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante, driven by McKart, at about 5:57 p.m. at Skyline Boulevard. McKart, who had been traveling west on Pine Island, reportedly turned south onto Skyline into Wheeler’s right-of-way.
Wheeler’s family has been pushing for a stoplight at the intersection since the accident. Crutchley has created a Facebook page and more than 900 had signed the online petition for a light as of Wednesday. State transportation officials have stated that the level of traffic does not call for a stoplight.
“I’m not going to stop fighting for the light,” Crutchley said.
According to the released report, witnesses reported that Wheeler was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash. A police officer in the area at the time estimated Wheeler’s minimum speed to be 70 mph, “but possibly could be going 75-80 mph.”
He said Wheeler was “moving so fast that he could not believe his eyes.”
The speed limit on that section of Pine Island Road is 50 mph.
Crutchley acknowledged that the report found Wheeler had been speeding.
“Obviously that was another factor in the accident,” he said.
McKart told investigators that he came to a complete stop at Skyline and allowed traffic to pass before he attempted to turn, the report states. He saw an SUV traveling east on Pine Island and a motorcycle next to it, and it appeared that both vehicles were going the same speed and not speeding.
McKart proceeded into the intersection and was hit, he said.
Wheeler collided into the passenger’s side of the Mitsubishi and was ejected from the motorcycle. According to police, he attempted to stop prior to the collision, skidding, but could not.
McKart was not injured in the accident.
Officials previously stated that the crash was not alcohol or drug related.
No information is recorded in the 50-page report to indicate either way.
McKart was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and Wheeler was wearing a helmet. The helmet was later located near the side of the road.
Wheeler had been with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. At the time of the crash, he left behind a pregnant finance and two young children.
He was the city’s first traffic fatality this year.