Motorcyclist Killed by Drunk Driver in Sebastian Served in Vietnam and Gulf War

Lawrence C. Rubino
Lawrence C. Rubino

A couple of weeks ago, we published the outcome of a criminal case involving Edward Wheeler, who pulled out in front of a motorcycle, killing both the driver and passenger. 

While Wheeler was found not guilty on some charges by a jury, he was convicted of drunk driving and sentenced to six months jail, plus six months probation, and will lose his driver’s license for one year thereafter. 

On Sept. 13, 2018, the traffic crash killed Lawrence C. Rubino and Teresa G. Calhoun. A long and exhausting trial went on, and Rubino’s family didn’t feel justice was served.

Sebastian Daily has learned that Lawrence Rubino had quite an extensive military background and helped our local community. Unfortunately, we never reported this information when we published the article about the accident. As a result, we sincerely apologize to Rubino’s family for not mentioning this information in the article about Wheeler.

We had an opportunity to sit down with John Rubino, Lawrence Rubino’s son, and learned that his father was a Vietnam War and Gulf War veteran and one of the responders to the Flight 800 recovery, and he even received a Metal/Award from Vice President Mike Pence. 

But there’s so much more about the life of Lawrence Rubino. We were moved by what his son told us, and it still weighs heavy on us. For these reasons and more, we wanted to publish this article. 

“He distinguished himself while serving as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps., and a Master SGT in the U.S. Army serving his country for 26 years,” John Rubino told Sebastian Daily.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott and Lawrence C. Rubino
Serving both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps

Lawrence Rubino’s awards & decorations include: 

  • Army Service Ribbon National Defense Service Medal (2 Awards)
  • Good Conduct Service Medal
  • Meritorious Unit Citation
  • Professional Development Ribbon with 3 awards
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Army Reserve Components Achievement Ribbon

“The distinctive accomplishments of this Marine/Soldier have indeed brought great credit & pride to his family and the Armed Forces of the United States,” John Rubino said. 

“What he was most proud of in this world with all those accomplishments he had was being a father. He raised my brother and I with love and respect. He would always tell us growing up, ‘you are known by the company you keep’ and ‘if you can help, you should help.’ As we grew up, I began to understand him more and see him do things to show us what it means to care. I had seen him witness a car accident and jump out to help when a car had just wrapped around a pole,” he added.

John Rubino also watched his father organize and motivate fifteen teenagers from a nearby corner to help him flip a car so he could save a woman’s life. He also watched his father stop to help a local disabled veteran, driving him to his destination. 

“No matter what we were doing or where we were going, he would stop and drive him to his destination. These are just some of the instances where I learned how to be a good man shaping me into the father I am,” said John Rubino.

When Lawrence Rubino retired and moved to Sebastian, he continued to try to help and make the town better. He was a member of the American Legion, V.F.V., Post 189 Honor Guard, Italian American Club, the Moose Lodge, and many more. 

“He would be at every memorial service for a fallen Veteran with the Honor Guard, making sure everyone received the honors they deserved. He would ride in the Sebastian Christmas Parade on his trike dressed as Santa and could not wait to call and tell us how great it is seeing all those children smile. His memory will live on in all the hearts he touched along the way,” he said.

John Rubino lived in Queens, New York, at the time his father died in the crash. He has since moved to Sebastian. However, each time he takes his child to Sebastian Elementary School, he is still reminded about the accident when passing the crash site. 

The crash has been very tragic to the family. If you see John Rubino or his family, please welcome them to our town. Likewise, if you were a friend of Lawrence Rubino, please reach out and help this family heal.

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About Andy Hodges 2876 Articles
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies. In 2002, he permanently moved back to Sebastian, where Andy's family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.