New charges in hit-and-run death of Bertie Co. lineman restoring power after Michael

John Roland Goedtke

Florida man John Roland Goedtke, who is accused of killing three linemen in an October hit-and-run, is facing new charges, according to CBS 17.

At approximately 6:50 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, three line workers were repairing power lost on Highway 77 between Chipley and Wassau, Florida, when they were struck.

The Florida Highway Patrol said that Goedtke was traveling north on the road when his vehicle left the roadway and hit the linemen. Alcohol was involved in the crash.

The crash resulted in the deaths of all three linemen, including two North Carolina men: 52-year-old George Cesil of Colerain, North Carolina, and 22-year-old Ryan Barrett of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Cesil had worked as a foreman with Lee Electrical Construction for six years and Barrett had worked with the company for five months. All three were working to restore power in the aftermath of Michael, which knocked out power in large portions of the Florida Panhandle.

George Cesil (Photo courtesy of family)

Goedtke attempted to flee the crash scene after his truck went into a ditch, but was spotted and detained by a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy, according to CBS 17.

He was previously charged with felony DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide and felony leaving the scene in connection with the crash. Wednesday, new charges were filed, and he is now charged with three counts of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and driving while his license was canceled, suspended or revoked causing serious bodily injury or death.

Bertie County man Cesil’s son told News 3 he’ll remember his father being a cowboy.

“He was a cowboy, if you could tell by the photos. He was a pure cowboy. He loved America. Purebred American; bled red, white and blue. Most importantly, he was a father figure, a leader, mentor,” the 24-year-old said.

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