Around the Region for Jan. 20, 2012

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.


19-year-old killed in I-75 crash

A Jasper woman died in a crash on Interstate 75 near the Newberry Road exit on Wednesday afternoon. The Florida Highway Patrol identified the victim as Chelsea Morgan, 19, who had been driving a 2002 Jeep Liberty.

Trooper M. Todd said Morgan’s passenger, Dyamond Asbury, 18, of Miami, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida in serious condition.

Todd said the Jeep was traveling north in the center lane when the right rear tire blew out at about 3:30 p.m. Morgan lost control of the Jeep and it spun off the pavement onto the east side of the highway, Todd said. The Jeep hit two trees before coming to a stop, according to Todd’s report on the crash.

— Karen Voyles

Report: Chase included obscene gestures

Deputies said a Levy County man led them on an erratic chase outside Williston Wednesday evening that included his making obscene gestures out his truck window.

The man later apologized, according to the deputy who took him to jail.

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office got a call about a man who apparently had left the scene of a minor crash.

Sheriff’s Maj. Evan Sullivan and Lt. Sean Mullins pursued a gray Nissan Titan truck with front-end damage near State Road 121 and U.S. 41. The truck driver, later identified as Roy Thomas Willard, 62, of Morriston, stopped abruptly and raised a hand to make an obscene gesture, Sullivan said.

The 300-pound, 6-foot-2 man refused orders to leave the truck and instead repeated the obscene gesture but using two hands this time.

Sullivan said the man was restrained with two pairs of handcuffs and taken to the county jail in Bronson. The Sheriff’s Office arrested Willard on charges of fleeing and attempting to elude and resisting arrest with violence.

— Karen Voyles


Plane returns due to mechanical error

A Delta flight with 50 passengers on board developed mechanical trouble 20 miles after taking off from the Gainesville Regional Airport Thursday afternoon and was forced to return to the airport.

Airport spokeswoman Laura Aguiar said no one was hurt during the incident and added that Delta sent another plane to take the passengers to the flight’s Atlanta destination.

“The pilots noticed a mechanical error and turned around. It landed safely and they deplaned,” Aguiar said. “They had a mechanic come look at the plane and decided that it did need a repair. It flew off without the passengers, and Delta sent another plane for the passengers.”

Aguiar said the faulty plane circled over the airport for a while to burn fuel. She added she did not know how long it took for a replacement plane to arrive in Gainesville.

The flight was full with the 50 passengers. She said some of them were stressed over possibly missing connecting flights.

— Cindy Swirko

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