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Edward Abruscato

Ed in suitThank you for looking at our web page. My name is Geri. This is the reader’s version of my story of Ed Abruscato as opposed to the “condensed version” written at the request of those who just want the facts. Our story…your flavor of choice…can’t say we do not aim to please:

 I learned of Ed Abruscato in January 2011. I was “kitten sitting” so my best friends, Daria and Troy could go visit their friend, Ed who was in prison. It was the first time they had visited him. Ed had been incarcerated for three years. When they returned home, I became concerned because Troy was very quiet and sad. When I asked Daria about Troy’s gloomy affect, she told me more about their friend. Daria described this man, Ed, who was Troy’s best friend for over 16 years. She described a once a very exuberant, energetic, fun-loving and giving person. The person they visited was now depressed, suicidal and withdrawn. It broke their hearts to find Troy’s best friend this way. Troy joined the conversation and told me some of the facts of the case in which Ed was incarcerated for causing a car accident by accidentally running a stop sign. Troy described how the defense attorney did an amateurish job of defending Ed throughout the case and that the sentence was extremely harsh. Troy would be a good judge of this as he has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years. Finally, Troy told me he had neglected his friend as did almost everybody else he knew because it was so difficult to see his friend first so terribly injured from the crash, then broken and shattered physically and emotionally afterwards followed by incarcerated with this unbelievable sentence. People do not get incarcerated from motor vehicle accidents unless they are DUI and the evidenced proved Ed was not DUI.

I felt compelled to reach out to this sad lonely depressed incarcerated man because when I was a teenager and experienced a particularly tough times others my incarcerated older cousin and I exchanged letters that in short empowered me and encouraged me to get through my struggles. I thank God for him. had reached out to me; Everybody needs a friend sometimes. I wanted to do a good deed; play it forward so to speak. I wrote a letter to Ed. I did not know if he would answer my letter, but I am so thankful that he did.

Ed todayI found what I expected, someone a bit bitter, a bit rough, even angry at times; someone very sad and hurt but I also found someone extremely intelligent with a great sense of humor and a quick wit. As I got to know Ed, I also became curious about his accident and the circumstances surrounding his incarceration. What happened to him. Because I am somewhat of a skeptical sort of person, I found it difficult to believe that what I had heard actually happened to him. I have since gotten most of his court documents and have read them until I am ill. I have read depositions and trial testimony and expert reports. I have also made a few inquiries myself. When one learns something like this has happened to someone, it is just wrong to ignore it. The following is my best effort to impart to you what is my general understanding of what happened to Ed

I am using data compiled and summarized from the different testimonies, documents, depositions and some of my own inquiries to put together for you the following scenario:

Ed sold his home and successful auto repair business (Ed was the owner of the J and H Automotive Shop on Jog and Lantana Rds in Lakeworth, South Florida a little over a month before the accident and purchased a home in rural Clay County. Ed was still unfamiliar with Clay County, but wanted to move his wife and teenage daughter to a rural part of Florida. They found their new home just outside of Middleburg, Florida. Ed quickly found a job managing the shop and using his master mechanic skills at All Pro Automotive.

Ed had lived in his new home about 3 weeks when, in the afternoon of November 8th 2006, most likely 4:30 or so, at the Abruscato home Ed Abruscato, his teenage daughter, Kristen Abruscato, Ed’s new boss’s teenage daughter, Katie Ray and another teen, Jonathan Adams loaded up a moped on the back of the Abruscato Chevy Avalanche. At 4:50pm, Ed was driving the Chevy with Kristen, Katie and Jonathan turning right from Santa Clara onto County Road 215 just south of Middleburg, Florida. They were going to the Gainesville Raceway in anticipation of an exciting event. Sixteen- year- old Katie was going to participate in her first drag race. She would be racing a beautiful 1970 Camero re-built for drag racing in part by Ed. Katie and Kristen, new friends, were chitchatting excitedly. Jonathan was sitting in the backseat of the Abruscato Chevy Avalanche with Katie. This dream come true day collapsed into a tragedy when, in the excitement of the day, Ed Abruscato was distracted and did not come to a complete stop before making a right turn onto County Road 215. His mistake caused an accident. His Avalanche collided into a car, the people in that car were not severely injured. His Avalanche was also hit by an oncoming truck that was going at 60 miles per hour. The collisions in total that resulted in the death of three people and injury to 5 more to include severe and permanent injury to Ed.

All three of those killed in the crash died at the scene.

The local news was saturated with the tragic event. The majority of the news focus was on a girl named Katie Ray. Katie was killed. She was a beautiful, popular 16 year old who grew up in this small town. Her family had been in Middleburg for generations. Her father owned a very successful automotive business.  


Also lost to the crash were two other long-term residents to Middleburg who had also recently relocated the family to their large country dream home. A 42 year-old father, Jeff Spear, was tragically killed as was his 7 year-old daughter Christie Anna. John and Christie Anna were beloved in the community as well as local church members.  The father and daughter pair were known to be inseparable.

Of the five injured, only Ed’s injuries were life threatening and resulted in severe permanent disability.

Ed Abruscato was severely injured with a skull fracture, severe head injury, pelvic fractures, spinal injury and an arm fracture. He was in critical condition and required surgery following the accident. He subsequently had 3 heart attacks at 41 years old right after the accident. His only child was also badly injured.


Just to reiterate, Ed had no drugs or alcohol in his body to contribute to the accident. It was inferred in some of the trial testimony and some of the articles that I read that he was intoxicated. As I stated earlier, I checked the toxicology screens that were reported as evidence collected by the Florida Highway Patrol Traffic Homicide Investigator.


According to the medical record and deposition from a physician, Jeff Spears had several prescribed medications in his body to include muscle relaxers and narcotics. He was being treated for the pain from a back injury. From what I have read about Jeff Spears, he was a very good man who was responsible and dependable. I am sure he did not realize the effect the medications would have on his reflexes and ability to detect danger. According to the medical doctor, he was impaired enough to affect his ability to react to the crisis. The Clay County Medical Examiner stated in her deposition that had Mr. Spears survived the crash he might have been charged with DUI. The car immediately behind the Spear’s truck pulled over and stopped and was not involved in the crash.


In no way do I we wish to diminish the impact of the sadness felt in the community from this tragedy The loss of life, especially the youth in a community is always devastatingly heartbreaking, but in most cases causing a car crash with fatalities by accidentally running a stop sign does not result in a prison sentence.


As in all cases there are always more details. For you detail minded skeptics such as myself, it will be my pleasure to share everything I can review with you. Please keep in mind there is a tremendous amount of documentation, but I will summarize the case out blow by blow for you to read. This page represents a very condensed version. There will be a link here when the full case story is written for you. It would be my utmost pleasure to share every detail with you, but as we have not given up on Ed’s case yet, it is best that I keep some of the details out of this note for now


If you feel that when someone dies someone else shall pay. The next question you must also ask yourself then is if you have ever accidentally ran a stop sign or made a driving error with or without consequence?  Ed’s story; the severe consequences of this accident, gives a whole new meaning to the sigh of relief that escapes us when nothing major results from a careless traffic error.


The Eulogies for Katie and the Spears’ were as Lovely and Appropriate as the Demonization of Ed was Vindictive and Unjust


The small town knew Katie’s family and the Spear’s family, but the Abruscato family had only recently moved to Middleburg. Ed had sold his successful business in West Palm Beach and relocated his family to their country dream home. He was working for Mr. Ray because he loved working on high performance engines and because he liked to stay busy. Ed had been managing the automotive shop and working on high performance engines for Mr. Ray for only 3 weeks. In the grief and rage at the loss of their daughter, Katie’s family put out banners crying for “the murderer to be brought to justice”.  The family business displayed signage crying out to the public pleading for Ed to be brought to justice as vengeance for the loss of their daughter.  The articles in the local paper make Ed appear to be a reckless maniac driver who does not care about the lives of others. The paper neglected to interview any of Ed’s friends or people who care about him or know him as a person. The paper never stated that Ed was a family man, had run his own successful business, had a wife of over 20 years and had a daughter. The grief stricken Abruscato family in the midst of their turmoil had difficulty finding an attorney and finally hired a local attorney to represent Ed.  The town paper printed editorials in which people called for Ed to be tied to a stop sign so he could hope that none of them ran him over as if he had caused this accident on purpose. Ed’s attorney did not obtain a court order to change the place for his case to be heard so his case was tried a year later in the same small rural county where the accident took place. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison; Ed was not DUI but most DUI vehicular homicide cases do not even result in a more than 30 year sentence. If you look at the media, when he was convicted the paper stated that he faced up to 50 years! 


As I have stated earlier, I have read most of his case. I believe I have a good sense of right and wrong. I am logical and have good common sense.  None of the appeals that have been submitted have received anything more than a denial stamp even though the paralegal who prepared them gave very good and compelling reasons to relook at Ed’s case.


 I feel that when one finds something so obviously and ridiculously wrong, there is an obligation to try to do something to help.  


If you agree with the above statement, please continue and take a moment of your time to help us gain freedom for Ed. Thank you in advance for your help.  


Since that first difficult visit, Daria, Troy and I have tried to help Ed begin to put his life back together. Now we want to get a just sentence for this man. More than anything we want to bring Ed home.






Ed and TroyEd Daria and Geri