Six injured in three-vehicle crash; cocaine found at site


High Springs Police Officer Chuck Harper surveys a three-vehicle accident on U.S. 441 in High Springs that occurred around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Police reported finding quantities of cocaine in and around one of the vehicles.

ALEXANDER COHN/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 12:12 a.m.
HIGH SPRINGS - A three-vehicle crash left six people injured and High Springs Police searching for the source of about $600 of cocaine found at the crash site Wednesday afternoon.
A motorist lost control of a pickup as he was driving north on U.S. 441, west of Interstate 75, at about 1 p.m., High Springs Police said. The pickup drove across the road's median and struck two southbound vehicles, officers reported. A fourth driver, Tom Carpenter, 46, of Fort White, was able to avoid the pileup but drove over debris from the damaged vehicles.
Officers were investigating what caused the red pickup's driver, Alachua County resident Travis Williams, to lose control of the vehicle.
Police also were left late Wednesday trying to prove who apparently hid 18 bags, containing several grams of cocaine, under crash debris in a culvert near the accident's location. Two other bags containing the drug were found on the ground and another in the back of a vehicle involved in the crash.
"I just saw him coming across the median and flipping and then everything exploded," Carpenter said. "I had angels protecting me."
The two men in the pickup, Williams and Fred Giddons of High Springs, were ejected from the vehicle, witnesses told police.
The pickup struck a Chevrolet Blazer driven by Mark Kramer, an Alachua police officer, said High Springs Police Sgt. Gordon Fulwood. Kramer's 5-year-old son, Alex, was a passenger in the Blazer.
Both were later released from an area hospital, said Alachua Police Chief Robert Jernigan.
Also injured were Melvin Long and Donald W. Klein, both of Fort White, who were riding in another pickup, police reported. Long tried but was unable to avoid the other vehicle as it careened across the southbound lanes.
Some of the six people in the three vehicles, all who were transported to area hospitals, had serious injuries, but none were considered life-threatening, according to initial police reports.
Fulwood said officers plan to examine the 21 bags, containing about eight grams of cocaine, to try to determine who had the drugs before the crash.
No one had been charged in connection with the cocaine late Wednesday. A witness to the crash said the bags were found in the culvert in a dark-colored knit cap. Stashed in the culvert, along with the bags, was a Bible.
Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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