LUTZ, Fla. – On Sunday, November 15th, a Lutz Florida couple, Don Russ and Janice Weiner, were picking up dinner to celebrate their one-year marriage anniversary. A careless and preventable tragedy struck, and life for a family would be forever changed.
Don and Janice, driving back to their home in an SUV, slowed down for traffic and a construction warning on Rt. 54 in Land O’ Lakes. A pickup truck, driven by 23-year-old Cameron Stephen Frahn, failed to slow down and collided with the SUV’s rear. The impact propelled the SUV forward, and it collided with the rear of another car. Frahn, from Tarpon Springs, chose to drive his pickup truck drunk that Sunday evening, and his senseless actions took the life of 79-year-old Janice Weiner.
“She was known as being everyone’s ‘mother’. Adults of all ages would seek out her advice. She was always there for her friends suffering from illnesses or personal issues,” said Russell Weiner about his Mom.
According to a family friend, Don suffered serious injuries’ in the crash and, as of Wednesday, was still in the ICU. “The family is very worried about Don and needs to be sure his medical expenses will be taken care of for the duration. Who knows if he’ll have long term issues or need long term care as he’s still in the ICU.”
Only married a year, the couple adored each other and their families. Don recently retired so they could travel and spend time visiting their children and grandchildren.
Janice Weiner had two children, son Russell Weiner, and daughter Illyse Hart. She also had five grandchildren, Matthew, Jonathan, Aaron, Jake, and Josh. Janice was beloved by a vast group of friends and everyone who knew her.
Russell said, “Mom simply loved the beach, social gatherings, and baseball. But her #1 hobby-love was her grandchildren, who called her literally every day. Everyone loved to talk to grandma.”
“We want people to know that they were a very happy, healthy couple, in love, and looking forward to spending the rest of their life together,” said a family friend in an email to The Free Press.
Editors Note- Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 50 minutes. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.