As the former West Coast Florida Sysco Food Services President, Carl Cannova’s and his past employees have spent their fair share of time on Florida’s roadways delivering food products. After years and years of witnessing accidents and seeing first-hand the hazards of rubbernecking drivers, Cannova — now retired from Sysco — has created a way to combat what he says is one of the most dangerous causes of accidents: rubbernecking. Over the past two years, Cannova and his wife have developed a product for emergency responders to provide privacy, security and safety after an accident, crime or emergency.
Cannova’s company, Stop Rubbernecking CC, LLC. has created the SRN 1000, a system of convertible screens and tripods that sets up in less than five minutes and can be assembled by just one person. The system is easily transported and extremely convenient in matters of urgency. The screen system is durable and is meant to protect crime scenes, car crashes and evidence for officers, victims and family members.
After retiring from his role as the President of Sysco Food Services for the West Coast of Florida in 2008, Cannova and his wife of close to 49 years, Tommie, set out to begin designing the SRN 1000. They worked with Sarasota, FL design firm RoBrady to develop a prototype and then perfected it with help from local law enforcement officials. Currently eleven Florida law enforcement agencies are using the SRN 1000 and this year they are launching the product both nationally and internationally. One agency, Cannova says, called him frantically two weeks after seeing the product demonstration and wanted two systems immediately. When Cannova asked why the urgency, the department head cited a recent accident in which a young child was hit by a car after school and lay in the road long enough for several full school buses to pass by and witness the victim in plain sight.
“This is a superior product to protect crime scenes,” said Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, whose agency purchased a system earlier this year. “The system is durable, easy to travel with and set up and it is a crucial tool to provide privacy for victims and officers at several types of traumatic events,” said Steube.
Cannova explains that coroners and first responders have also purchased the screens to protect identities of victims, especially in sensitive situations. The screens not only protect crime scenes and evidence from contamination, but they also make it more difficult for photographs to be taken and spread around the Internet. One of the most important aspects of the system is the to shield car accidents on the roadways in order to combat rubbernecking.
“Many officers I’ve spoken with are grateful to have this system, which replaces their current methods of holding up finicky aluminum poles and tarps, which require people to stand guard,” said Cannova. “That’s a waste of manpower, which could be used helping the accident victims, investigating and cleanup. That’s why I wanted to create this system.” The family owned and operated organization is based in Sarasota. Carl Cannova’s son Phillip is Cannova is the vice president of the South East Region and his wife, Tommie is CEO.
“He’s been planning this for years,” said Tommie Cannova, CEO of Stop Rubbernecking. “I asked him to just relax and play golf, and he did for about two years. After that finally got old, he decided to start designing the SRN 1000. Now though, I could not be more proud of what our company has been able to do to help victims and their families and prevent rubbernecking,” explains Cannova. The company plans to expand nationally and internationally this year.
Candice McElyea, Yahoo Voices Contributor, interviewed all parties involved for this story.