Wife witnesses husband hit by semi

BRADFORD CO., Fla. – Tragedy struck a local couple Tuesday night when a man was hit and killed by a semi near Lawtey, off U.S. 301, as his wife watched.

According to Shane Bennett, the Lawtey chief of police, the crash happened just after 5 p.m. Police said 50-year-old Timothy Holochwost and his wife were driving northbound on the highway and realized they left a cellphone on the top of the car.

Holochwost and his wife turned around to see if they could find the phone, which had fallen off the car, and spotted it on the side of the highway.

Holochwost pulled over to get the phone and while crossing the highway, tripped and fell and was hit by a semi. 

The truck attempted to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting him, but Holochwost was struck by the rear tire of the semi.

"It's bad. It's one of the worst parts of the job. The officers are trained to do it. The victim's wife was there on the scene, witnessed the whole thing. You can imagine trying to console her. We had our department chaplain come down and speak to her and he's at her house trying to console her," Bennett said.

Bennett said this is one reason why the speed limit is lowered going through town.

"The speed limit drops to 45, almost the entire length of the city of Lawtey. We get a lot of flak around here about the speed enforcement, but this is one of the reasons we do it," Bennett said. "We're very fortunate, for the amount of traffic. Almost 17,000 cars a day coming through our city, and we're fortunate to not have very many traffic fatalities or injuries at all, but one is too many."

The driver who hit Holochwost, 47-year-old Henry Clayton Jr., remained at the scene with investigators for hours.

Officers said they took blood from him as part of the investigation.

The Florida Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the accident and had closed down three of the four lanes of the highway, causing serious backups for hours.