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Miami dump truck driver fell asleep behind wheel before causing fatal crash, report says

Larry Ellis issued 4 traffic citations, will not be criminally charged

MIAMI – A city of Miami Department of Public Works dump truck driver who crashed into a taxi in April, killing its passenger, fell asleep at the wheel, a final crash report obtained Friday by Local 10 News said.

According to the report, Larry Ellis had nonprescription medication in his system which might have caused him to become drowsy.

Ellis told detectives after the crash and in his statement three days ago that the brakes failed, but detectives said there was no evidence of brake or mechanical issues.

According to a close-out memo, cellphone records show that Ellis was not on the phone during the crash, but reveal that he was up late and back on the phone early in the morning.

File: Close-out memo for Larry Ellis

Surveillance cameras outside the Bowl Bar captured the crash April 8 at the intersection of Northwest Seventh Street and Northwest 17th Avenue.

The garbage truck ran a red light and plowed into the cab, launching it into the intersection.

Police said 11 vehicles were hit in the chain-reaction crash.

A woman who was a passenger in the taxi, Pamela Plummer, died.

"That no one is going to be held responsible is pretty tough to take," Plummer's nephew, Shaun Yurtkuran said. "I do respect the decision of the State Attorney's Office."

The close-out memo states that video shows Ellis slumped over and grasping the wheel with both hands when he crashed, going nearly twice the speed limit.

"If he was up late night and was taking meds that made him drowsy, then I don't see the reason why he is still driving for the city," Roberto Duenas, who was injured in the crash, said.

Ellis received four civil traffic citations. He will not be criminally charged.

Ellis remains on paid leave from the Miami Department of Public Works. He faces 11 lawsuits stemming from the crash.


About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.