Around the region for March 16, 2013


Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

Police beat

Crash blocks U.S. 19 for 3 hours

U.S. 19 northbound was blocked for nearly 3 hours Friday morning after a semi tractor trailer ran into the back of a slow-moving road grader about five miles south of Cross City, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Neither the semi driver, Jerome McKenzie of Gainesville, nor the driver of the road grader, James Cooper of Cross City, suffered anything more than minor injuries in the crash, which occurred at about 9:15 a.m. Friday, FHP said. However, the two vehicles combined suffered an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to FHP.

McKenzie, 61, was pulling a flat-bed trailer with the semi he was driving northbound on U.S. 19 when he failed to slow down for the slower-moving road grader being driven by Cooper, 77.

The semi’s right front collided with the road grader’s left rear, causing the semi to jackknife. blocking all northbound lanes of U.S. 19. Crews not only had to clear the vehicles blocking the highway but also had to clean up a minor diesel fuel spill, FHP said.

McKenzie was charged with careless driving, FHP said.

— Staff report

Debris fire may hurt visibility on 441, 121

A debris fire north of the intersection of U.S. 441 and State Road 121 is creating smoke that may affect motorists on both 441 and State Road 121, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The fire is at Wood Resources Recovery LLC at 10606 SR 121, and the conditions are expected to continue into next week.

FHP warned that visibility on both highways could deteriorate quickly due to a combination of smoke and fog, especially overnight and during the early morning hours. Motorists are being asked to reduce their speed and to use their low-beam headlights.

— Staff report

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