Region avoids traffic deaths near Christmas

Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 12:50 a.m.
North Central Florida avoided traffic deaths over the Christmas holiday, which included the 48 hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
There were 12 road deaths across the state, but the closest to Gainesville were the two in Jacksonville and one in Volusia County.
One victim was a bicyclist and one was riding an all-terrain vehicle. Half of the victims who had seat belts available were not wearing them.
  • They said it couldn't be done: The Gainesville Police Department finished 2002 with 73 of its 76 recruits making it through training and now on the job, Cpl. Keith Kameg said.
    "We hired 25 percent of the department in one year," Kameg said.
    The department has moved from a force of one - the town marshal who was elected in 1869 - to 275 sworn personnel now.
  • Gone but not forgotten: A new memorial to a slain Williston Police Department officer has been completed.
    Officer David Moss was killed in a shootout with a Williston teenager, who also died in the incident, in 1988.
    Although it's taken a long time to get the memorial standing, it is a permanent marker and stands with surrounding plants in front of the police station at 1st Avenue SW in Williston.
    Local business people helped raise the necessary money.
    "Officers even in small towns face danger regularly," said Police Chief Dan Davis.
    "Fortunately, tragedies such as the death of Corporal Moss are rare. When they occur, they become an indelible part of the department's history and must be remembered in detail out of the respect for the fallen officer, his family and to remind each current officer of the cautions he/she must weave into their daily routines."
  • Beards and Blossoms: The Clay County Sheriff's Office may look a little hairier over the next few months but it's all for a good cause.
    Every year, sheriff's employees can participate in a fund-raiser known as "Beards and Blossoms" that benefits the Quigley House, a women's shelter.
    Men pay $30 for a three-month reprieve from the Sheriff's Office's no facial-hair policy and women pay $30 for a three-month supply of delivered flower arrangements.
    The flowers are donated by Palm Wolbert of Park Avenue Florist.
    A record amount - more than $5,000- was raised this year. All proceeds go to the Quigley House.
  • First arrest: Carlton Williams has the distinction of being the first person arrested in Alachua County in the new year.
    Williams, 59, was booked into the jail at 12:16 a.m. on a charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
    Many of the early-morning arrests were for traffic offenses including six cases of driving under the influence, according to jail logs.
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