Thu09292016

Last updateWed, 28 Sep 2016 11pm

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Two area women killed in head-on collision

GAINESVILLE/WALDO – A head-on collision at the 6900 block of Northeast 39th Avenue resulted in the death of two area women on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) received multiple reports of a serious crash at 6:40 p.m. An Alachua County Sheriff's Office deputy arrived on the scene as the calls came in. Initial reports indicated that a head-on collision had occurred with one person ejected from a vehicle.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a 2010 gray Toyota Corolla, driven by 28-year-old Brittany Nichole Griswell, Gainesville, was westbound on Northeast 39th Avenue. She was in a long curve east of Gainesville Regional Airport when her vehicle left the roadway. Griswell over-corrected, went back onto the roadway and lost control of her car.

Griswell’s car continued westbound into the eastbound lane and struck a 2015 grey Nissan Sentra, driven by 52-year-old Drenda Dale Weaver of Waldo, head-on. Weaver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Griswell was ejected from her vehicle and was transported to a local hospital in very serious condition. “Griswell did not make it through the night and passed away,” said GPD Officer Ben Tobias late Monday night.

A full Traffic Homicide Investigation is ongoing. “It is unknown at this time if drugs or alcohol were involved,” said Tobias.

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Cwalker@

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Newberry Man Dies in Single-Vehicle Crash

NEWBERRY – A 48-year-old Newberry man lost his life late Saturday evening in a single-vehicle accident.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) report, Tracy Eugene Tindall was driving his white 2005 Ford F-150 pick-up truck, traveling north on U.S. Highway 27, four miles south of Newberry, at 10:45 p.m.

For unknown reasons, Tindall's truck veered off the roadway onto the left (westernmost) sloped shoulder where its front left side side-swiped a large tree, impacting the entire left side of the vehicle's cab and encroaching heavily into the driver's side door and truck compartment, tearing the door off the frame.

The truck was then induced into a sharp, counter-clockwise rotation, where it then came to rest in the adjacent tree line.

During the course of the rotation, Tindall's unbelted body was partially ejected from the compromised driver's side door, and was found adjacent to it.

Alachua County Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the collision and pronounced Tindall dead upon their arrival. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

At this time, FHP has not determined whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

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Camp Kulaquqa Connecting to City Sewer

Q - HS Commission check IMG 2554

 Photo special to Alachua County Today

A check for Phase 1 of the $50,000 grant for the upgrades to the Walter Howard Park was presented to the City of High Springs. L-R: High Springs City Manager Ed Booth, Vice-Mayor Gloria James, O'Leno State Park Manager George Paxton (holding check) and High Springs Recreation Director Robert Basford.

 HIGH SPRINGS – O'Leno State Park Manager George Paxton was on hand at Thursday's High Springs City Commission Meeting to present a check for $50,000 from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP). The grant is for Phase 1 of the Walter Howard Park upgrades.

In other city business, the City's Building Inspector, Scott Thomason, introduced some minor changes to the Code of Ordinances to update some of the fees for the Building Department's services. Although the changes are “modest,” Thomason hopes they will bring High Springs in line with some of the other municipalities in the region with similar populations.

“We want to make sure our department is self-sustaining,” said Thomason. “There are some services we provide that needed to be clarified, and we have hopefully done that with this new list of updated municipal fees.”

There are no fee increases associated with fire inspection services at this time, said Thomason.

Builders should be able to apply and pay on line for the services they want from the City's Building Department soon.

“Our software company is working on this and we hope to have it operational in the next couple of weeks,” said Thomason. It is expected to help streamline the department's ability to serve the builders in that community.

Commissioners approved a contract to continue to have Carol Rowan manage the Farmers' Market for another year.

Mittauer & Associates, Inc. received a thumbs-up from commissioners to design, permit and construct a pump station and install a force main to connect Camp Kulaqua to the City's wastewater system. A Suwannee River Water Management District grant in the amount of $250,000 has been awarded for this project. Mittauer is expected to receive approximately $50,000 for their portion of the work.

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Upgrades on Tap for Newberry's Fire Station

NEWBERRY – Upgrades to the City of Newberry’s fire station received approval at the Aug. 22 commission meeting following a presentation by Facilities Supervisor Travis Parker.

Parker said the main changes included the addition of an ambulance bay and modifications to the sleeping quarters.

Other changes include relocation of the fire chief's office, and in future, that space will be the office and sleeping quarters for the lieutenant. Currently, the open sleeping quarters area has room for four beds. Renovations will increase the bed capacity to five and allow for more privacy.

The changes are expected to increase the overall size of the facility to 2,270 sq. ft., including the ambulance bay.

In an effort to move the project along, Parker told commissioners he already advertised for bid, but said he could add any changes the commission might want to make. Hearing no changes, the plans will move ahead to a bid opening Sept. 14 and a request for acceptance of the winning bid at the commission meeting of Sept. 26.

Parker estimated it will take 180 days for construction, which means the project should be completed by late March 2017.

The City's firefighters have offered to perform some of the construction work to help save the City time and money in updating the facility, said City Manager Mike New. “Who knew we had so many contractors working as firefighters,” he said with a chuckle.

The ambulance bay is estimated to cost approximately $70,000, with the balance of the fire station renovations estimated at $215,000, said New.

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Alachua Man Dies in Two-Car Crash

ALACHUA – An Alachua man was killed in a two-vehicle crash late Friday night at the intersection of County Road 225 and County Road 1475, according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).

The crash killed 30-year-old Christopher Thomashunis of Alachua, who was a passenger in a 2015 Hyundai Sonata driven by 31-year-old Luisa Adams. Other passengers were two one-year-old children. All individuals in the vehicle were from Alachua.

Adams was taken to UF Shands Emergency in serious condition and the children were taken to UF Shands Pediatric Emergency Room, also in serious condition. Christopher Thomashunis was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 18-year-old driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, Chase Pinner, of Middleburg, Florida, also suffered injuries and was taken to UF Shands Emergency in serious condition.

According to FHP, Pinner was driving a 2002 Nissan pickup south on County Road 1475 approaching the intersection of County Road 225. The Hyundai Sonata driven by Adams was traveling west on County Road 225 approaching the intersection of County Road 1475. The front portion of Pinner's pickup collided with the right portion of Adams' Sonata.

Everyone in the Hyundai Sonata were either wearing seat belts or in car seats. It was not clear whether Pinner was wearing a seat belt.

The FHP report indicates the crash was not alcohol related, but the accident is still under investigation.

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