County has first fatal wreck of year when semi, car collide


Investigators look over the scene of a fatal crash Monday morning along U.S. 301 near SE 71st Avenue in Hawthorne. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, one person was killed in the crash involving a semi and another vehicle.

MARIAN WITZEL/Special to The Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

A tractor-trailer and a car collided Monday morning in eastern Alachua County, killing the car's motorist, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

William P. Christian, 63, of Hawthorne died in the wreck, which occurred at U.S. 301 and SE 71st Avenue at about 9:30 a.m.

The wreck was the first fatal vehicle crash in the county this year, according to FHP.

Troopers still were trying to determine what happened, but said it appeared a Subaru crossed into the path of a 1999 Kenworth tractor traveling north on U.S. 301.

Christian apparently was trying to head east onto SE 71st Avenue, according to officers.

"It was eastbound across the northbound lane of 301 and crossed in front of the semi," said Lt. Mike Burroughs with FHP. The truck hit the right side of the Subaru, knocking it onto the road's eastern shoulder.

The semi's driver, John Doyle Heathcoat, 44, of Orange Springs, was not injured, Burroughs said.

Christian was not wearing a seat belt, while Heathcoat had been wearing one. Christian was later pronounced dead at Shands at the University of Florida at 10:35 a.m.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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