Around the region

Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

One person killed in Levy County wreck

One person died following a crash in eastern Levy County Monday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Details about the wreck were not available late Monday, but troopers reported one person had been killed in the crash on State Road 121 near Morriston.

Troopers were called to the site shortly before 5 p.m., and the road near E. Levy Street was blocked because of the accident.

- Lise Fisher

Lake City man hit by train and killed

A Lake City man died during the weekend when he was struck by a train in the area of the Osceola forest, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office reported Monday.

Officers were called to train tracks near the Baker County line Saturday morning when train staff reported they had struck a person who appeared be on the tracks, according to the sheriff's office.

Wayne Anthony Byrd, 28, was found dead, deputies reported. Reports about the accident indicated his head has been resting on the tracks and that he did not respond to the sound of the train whistle or the emergency brakes.

Byrd's relatives told detectives it was not unusual for Byrd to hunt in an area near the tracks, the sheriff's office reported. A rifle was found with Byrd, who his family said would sometimes lie down near the tracks while he was hunting.

The man's body was taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in Jacksonville where an autopsy would be completed, according to deputies.

The law enforcement agency is still investigating Byrd's death.

- Lise Fisher

Fire damages area mobile home

A fire damaged a mobile home in northern Alachua County on Monday night, firefighters reported.

Firefighters arrived at a home at 8315 NE 77th Lane in Creekside Forest Mobile Home Park about 7:30 p.m. to find flames shooting through the building's roof, Alachua County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Megan Crandall said.

Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control and searched the area but found the home's occupant was not at the building at the time of the fire.

An investigator from the State Fire Marshal's Office in Ocala had been called to the home to determine where and how the fire started, Crandall said.

- Lise Fisher

LifeSouth blood drive planned for Wednesday

Gainesville residents can help others and kick-start a fitness routine by donating blood Wednesday when the LifeSouth bloodmobile comes to GHFC's main center at 4820 Newberry Road from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Those who donate will receive a week's gift membership to GHFC, which they can use to kick-start their own healthy new year or give to a friend.

"People often talk about making positive changes in their lives at the beginning of the year and there's no better way to make a positive change than starting the new year off by donating blood," said Karen Rhodenizer, director of corporate affairs with LifeSouth. "At the beginning of the year the blood supply is usually critically low. Schools are closed, and people are busy and on vacation so there's been several weeks of low donations for most blood centers.

"In addition, many people put off elective surgeries until after the holidays which places a strain on an already short blood supply," Rhodenizer said.

Donors will also receive a mini-health check, as their blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol and the iron content of their blood will be checked.

- Diane Chun

Stranded whale to be euthanized

PALMETTO - A 25- to 30-foot sperm whale that has been stuck in shallow waters near the mouth of Tampa Bay will likely have to euthanized, officials said Monday.

The whale has drifted from Pinellas County to waters near Terra Ceia Bay but showed no signs of going out to deeper waters, said Nadine Slimak, a spokeswoman with the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

Officials were able to get close enough to the whale Monday to give it a sedative and determine that it had no obvious injuries. When it gets closer to the coast, biologists will euthanize the whale, which is likely an older juvenile, Slimak said.

That decision could be overturned if the whale swims toward deeper waters.

- The Associated Press

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