Motorcyclist dies in crash with School District truck

Michael Gassett, the driver of a Alachua County School Board vehicle ,reflects after being involved in an accident that killed a motorcyclist at the intersection of U.S. 441 and County Road 235A Friday.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.

A motorcyclist died Friday morning during a collision with an Alachua County School District warehouse employee heading to Santa Fe High School in a truck.

Eric Cowart, 36, was killed, said Alachua Police Department detective Jesse Sandusky, the agency's spokesman. Sandusky said Cowart's license has a Gainesville address, but he believes victim was living in High Springs.

Sandusky said the driver of the School Board box van, Michael Gassett, was not injured.

The accident was reported about 10:55 a.m. at County Road 235A and U.S. 441 in Alachua.

Sandusky said Cowart was northbound on U.S. 441 on a 1976 Harley-Davidson while Gassett was southbound. Gassett was making a left turn onto CR 235A when he struck Cowart.

"We are investigating and trying to determine if (Gassett) violated the right of way," Sandusky said. "We have not filed any charges pending the investigation."

The motorcycle landed on top of Cowart and fuel was leaking from it.

School district spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said Gassett has worked for the district since 1989.

"The truck driver works for our warehouse and has been with our system for many years," Johnson said. "He was going to Santa Fe High School, I would assume to make a drop-off or pick-up."

CR 235A borders Santa Fe High School.

Johnson said a drug test is mandatory in all accidents involving district employees. She added that Gassett will go on administrative leave.

Gassett has had no previous accidents while working for the school district, Johnson added.

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