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State will not prosecute in crash that fatally injured man

By Staff | Jul 27, 2011

A case against a Cape Coral man involved in a traffic crash last year that killed a Waste Management employee was not prosecuted by the state.
The State Attorney’s Office decided to nolle prosequi — not prosecute — a vehicular homicide charge in May that was filed against Brian Gustavus Ross, 53, of 842 S.W. 47th St. The state decided not prosecute due to insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, according to court documents.
Prior to that, the State Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges on three additional counts that Ross had been arrested for in November. The other charges were DUI manslaughter, DUI and DUI with property damage.
Ross was accused of causing the death of Lawrence Davis, 53, of Fort Myers.
According to officials, Ross was driving a Toyota pickup truck south on Skyline Boulevard in April 2010 when he drove into the Waste Management trash collection truck in the 4100 block. The Waste Management truck was stopped on the side of the road and two workers were at the back of it.
Andres Soto, 42, of Lehigh Acres, and Davis, who was standing to the left rear side of the truck, were loading garbage. Officials stated that Davis was forced under the garbage truck in the accident, sustaining life-threatening injuries. Davis was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
Soto was not injured in the crash, and Ross suffered minor injuries.
According to the crash report, the Waste Management truck was properly stopped in the outside southbound lane. Witnesses told police that Ross was traveling in the inside lane as he approached the back of the truck, but then changed lanes into the outside lane, not seeing the stopped garbage truck.
Defense attorney John Mills represented Ross.
“They can only prove a criminal act when there’s a reckless driving pattern,” Mills said Wednesday. “In this case, there was only careless driving, which is not a criminal act. Therefore, they dismissed the charges.”
He called the case a terrible accident.
“My client was very happy,” Mills said of the outcome. “He was looking at 10 years in prison.”
Ross could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Assistant State Attorney Geraldo Olivo was assigned to the case.
Waste Management of South Florida reported that Davis was a temporary employee who had worked for the company for several years. Hired through Labor Finder, Davis worked as an assistant on a rear load residential truck.