Driver plunges into water, dies


Published: Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Passing motorists stopped and tried to save a driver whose vehicle plunged into a swampy area off U.S. 301 in southern Alachua County on Wednesday afternoon.

But 52-year-old Jack Picknell of Flagler Beach didn't survive the crash, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Troopers were investigating what caused Picknell's 1995 Chevrolet Camaro to travel off the roadway, south of County Road 325 and less than a mile south of Island Grove.

The accident occurred shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Witnesses initially told officers it appeared the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel before the crash, said FHP spokesman Lt. Mike Burroughs.

A retired Alachua County Sheriff's deputy was among those who saw the accident and tried to rescue the motorist, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Steve Maynard. Bobby Whitney and about four other people searched for the driver, lifting the vehicle that landed upside down and was submerged in swampy water.

They located Picknell in the vehicle but said he no longer had a pulse.

Picknell had been driving south on U.S. 301 when his car drifted into the median. He redirected the car toward the southwest.

The vehicle began to rotate, traveled off the road and hit a large palm tree before overturning in the water, troopers reported.

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