Local attorney Bill Avera dies in car crash


Published: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 8:14 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 8:14 a.m.

Prominent Gainesville attorney William N. “Bill” Avera died Saturday afternoon in a Gilchrist County wreck that injured three others.

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William N. Avera, 81.

Courtesy of Avera & Smith Attorney's at Law

Avera, 81, was the founder and senior partner of the law firm currently known as Avera and Smith, LLP.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Avera was pronounced dead at the scene of the 2:25 p.m. crash south of Bell. Those injured were residents of Bell.

FHP Cpl. Rodney W. Howard determined that Avera was alone in his 2004 Toyota Tundra when he ran a stop sign while headed west on County Road 232. The pickup was hit broadside when it pulled into the path of a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina being driven north on CR 341 by Jenna M. Luchak, 21.

She was taken to Shands at the University of Florida in critical condition.

Luchak’s passengers, Rose M. Guindni-Mayo, 47, and Stanley M. Mayo, 65, were taken to Shands at UF in serious condition.

In his report, Howard said the Toyota rolled over while the Chevrolet spun off the two-lane, paved road. Howard also noted that charges were pending further investigation in the wreck and that everyone involved was wearing a seatbelt.

Funeral arrangements were pending Monday with Williams-Thomas Funeral Homes.

Although Avera was no longer practicing law full time, partner Rod Smith said he frequently spent time in the office providing partners and associates advice on everything ranging from the cases they were working on to the redfish conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.

“He was a great lawyer, the type of which we will never see again,” Smith said on Monday morning. “He was also a fabulous father and grandfather who was convinced that his grandchildren were profoundly gifted.”

The law firm that Avera founded handles a wide range of civil and criminal cases, and no matter what type of case Avera was working on, Smith said he handled it like he “did everything in his life – with a sophistication and style that made him very special to his family and friends.”

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