Around the Region, March 21

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:59 p.m.


Police seek 2 men in Williston store thefts

Williston police are seeking help from the public in identifying two men seen Sunday and Monday in a surveillance video committing what appears to be thefts at the Ace Hardware located at 54 SW Main St. in Williston.

Store employees were conducting routine review of surveillance footage, according to a written statement issued by Williston Chief of Police Dennis Strow, when they discovered that at around noon on Sunday and Monday, two men entered the store, removed hand tools worth more than $600 and departed the store without paying for the items.

Police are urging anyone who has information regarding the identity of the suspects to call 528-4991.

— Maru I. Opabola

Interlachen man killed in crash on SR 20, FHP says

An Interlachen man was killed Tuesday night when he lost control of his pickup truck on State Road 20, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Dead is Michael Stoeffler, 41, according to an FHP press release.

The accident happened at 8:43 p.m. on SR 20 east of Whippletree Court.

Stoeffler was driving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma east on SR 20 when, for undetermined reasons, he veered onto the south shoulder, swerved back and lost control.

Stoeffler was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the truck, FHP reported.

— Cindy Swirko

FHP reports Lake City woman killed in wreck

A 26-year-old Lake City woman was killed early Wednesday morning on U.S. 90 when her vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailer loaded with lumber, according to a report.

Lindsay Danielle Chace was heading east on the highway around 5 a.m. when her Kia Optima crossed the center line and collided with the westbound tractor-trailer near West Thomas Drive, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Kia and log truck went off the road and into the tree line. A Cadillac traveling behind the Kia was struck as the vehicles veered off the highway.

Chace was pronounced dead at the scene, the FHP reported. No other injuries were reported.

The truck’s fuel tank ruptured and spilled a small amount of diesel fuel, closing the highway for cleanup until about 3 p.m.

— Staff report

Motorcyclist critical after Hawthorne Road accident

A motorcyclist is in critical condition at Shands at the University of Florida on Wednesday after a collision involving another vehicle in the 2100 block of Hawthorne Road.

Gainesville police responded to the scene after receiving multiple 911 calls from onlookers just after 4 p.m.

When officers arrived, the motorcyclist was lying in the roadway and was not wearing a helmet, according to a written statement issued by GPD spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias. Police had not identified the cyclist or the driver of the other vehicle, who police said was not seriously injured.

— Maru I. Opabola


St. Johns County ranked healthiest in all of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A new report shows that those living in St. Johns County in the northeastern part of Florida are the healthiest in the state.

The statewide county health rankings were released Wednesday as measured by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The county last on the list is Union County in the north central part of the state.

The study examines factors such as economic, social, behavioral, environmental, and clinical care.

Dr. John Armstrong is Florida’s surgeon general and secretary of health. He says the study reminds residents that “there is no finish line in our efforts for better health across all counties” and the goal is to turn “Florida into the healthiest state in the nation.”

The report can be found at

— The Associated Press

Elevator lock broken when man was found in shaft

TAMPA — Officials at Tampa International Airport say a lock on the elevator door was broken when a passenger was found dead in the shaft.

Airport spokeswoman Janet Zink said they don’t know if the lock had been tampered with, but that it did pass inspections in January.

Chad Wolfe arrived in Tampa from Atlanta shortly after midnight Friday. The 31-year-old’s body was found later that morning after maintenance noticed problems with the elevator at the short-term parking garage.

Witnesses told police that Wolfe had been drinking on his flight and was “impaired and behaving erratically.”

There is no evidence of foul play. Detectives are waiting for toxicology results from the Medical Examiner.

Wolfe was from West Newton, Pa.

— The Associated Press

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