Memorial Day weekend was busy for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), which reported six accidents that killed five and left three others injured in North Central Florida.
The holiday weekend, recognized as one of the most dangerous of the year, started Friday evening with a tragic accident at Ginnie Springs in Gilchrist County. A woman was standing in the back of a moving Jeep when she lost her balance and was run over by a trailer the Jeep was pulling.
FHP spokesman Patrick Riordan told Mainstreet Daily News he did not know if alcohol was involved in the incident, but he said that information would be part of the investigation.
FHP also reported three fatal accidents in Marion County. Saturday evening an Ocala man died and an Ocala woman was critically injured when the ATV driver—traveling illegally on SW 56th Avenue at 11:18 p.m., according to FHP—struck a utility trailer parked on the roadway.
A Sunday night motorcycle accident killed an Illinois man and left his passenger, an Illinois woman, critically injured Sunday night. Neither was wearing a helmet.
FHP is investigating why the motorcyclist suddenly braked hard and slid off the roadway.
Late Monday, FHP announced another motorcycle accident in Marion County, this time on I-75. According to FHP, a 36-year-old Reddick man was "traveling at a high rate of speed before rear-ending a sedan and losing control." First responders pronounced him dead on the scene, and an investigation is ongoing.
In Putnam County, a 39-year-old Dunnellon man died Saturday afternoon while driving a motorcycle on State Road 20. The man struck the rear of an SUV that was traveling in front of him.
Also, in Putnam County, FHP arrested a 23-year-old Keystone Heights man for driving under the influence after he rear-ended a motorcyclist attempting to make a turn east of Melrose. The collision caused the motorcycle to “overturn several times,” according to FHP.
The motorcyclist, a 77-year-old Port Orange man who was not wearing a helmet, is in serious condition at UF Health Shands in Gainesville.
In Pasco County, a 72-year-old Gainesville man died Sunday when he crashed into a tree along I-75. FHP is still investigating the incident to find out why the man’s Dodge Caravan left the roadway.