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OCALA, FL – The Ocala Police Department said a two-vehicle collision on Tuesday night left two people dead and another hospitalized.

Officers responded to the scene near the 1500 block of Southeast 36th Avenue after being notified of the incident at about 8:23 p.m.

A Mazda Miata and a Mercedes-Benz SUV collided and the Mazda went up in flames.  A man and a woman in the car were both pronounced dead at the scene.  A 17-year-old boy reported to have been driving the SUV was seriously injured and taken to an area hospital.

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ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – A two-vehicle collision in Alachua County left one of the drivers dead and the other injured, reports the Main Street Daily News.

The wreck took place Friday night on State Road 45 at 7:38 p.m.  The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of a southbound Ford SUV crashed into a Chevrolet pickup truck going north on the roadway.

The driver of the pickup, a 29-year-old woman from Newberry, died after being taken to UF Health ER.  The SUV driver, a 45-year-old Newberry woman, was seriously injured.

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SUMTER COUNTY, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting a search for the driver responsible for the death of a pedestrian Saturday morning in Sumter County.

According to WKMG, the victim was struck by a vehicle while walking in the southbound inside lane of U.S. 301 near County Road 102.  The pedestrian, a 63-year-old man from Lake Mary, was found dead by responding state troopers at about 8 a.m.

The driver involved fled the scene of the crash but parts of the vehicle were left behind.  Based on the evidence that was found, the FHP described the vehicle they are looking for as a 1992-97 Ford Bronco or F-Series Ford pickup truck of unknown color that was traveling south on U.S. 301 and would be missing its left front headlight housing.

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Early estimates show that more than 500,000 people have attended the Florida State Fair so far, which started running on Feb. 8.

The State Fair features live music, sea lions, two circus shows, more than 200 vendors, and over 90 rides.

Today is the last day of the Florida State Fair in Tampa, FL and it is also Families and Kids Day where children get in free with the purchase of an adult admission.

How Common Are Carnival and Fair Injuries?

Last year at the State Fair, the Ferris wheel at the Florida State Fair in Tampa shut down as riders were left hanging upside down, being swung back and forth by the wind.

The latest U.S. Fixed Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey Report from the National Safety Council shows that in 2022, there were about 1,349 injuries on amusement park rides, with the vast majority being minor injuries.

According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) told to CNN, there were 30,900 injuries sustained by patrons on amusement park attractions in 2016. Since 2010, the commission reported that they are aware of 22 deaths.

About 335 million people visit amusement parks in the US each year, yet only one in 16 of them are likely to suffer a serious injury there that requires an overnight hospital stay, according to the International Association for Amusement Parks.

What Are Potential Hazards at State Fair and Other Amusement Parks and Carnivals?

Despite the best efforts of event organizers, mistakes and mishaps are nearly inevitable due to the imperfection of human nature. Some potential reasons for injuries that may occur at fairs and festivals include the following:

  • Poor or no lighting in certain locations
  • Inadequately installed or inoperable security measures, such as surveillance cameras and metal detectors
  • Absence of obvious signage designating emergency exits and danger zones
  • A flagrant disregard for safety by some employees, especially event security
  • Equipment issues or breakdowns brought on by aging or inadequate maintenance
  • Exposed, broken, or vandalized electrical lines across high-traffic areas
  • Personnel with inadequate training

How Can You Stay Safe at the State Fair?

  • Check for cleanliness at the fair and take note of trash and how lines are run. Odds are if they are not keeping areas clean, then they are cutting corners on safety.
  • Look at the rides for signs of wear and tear, such as broken seat belts or guard rails. If things are not working properly, then the ride is not safe.
  • Check and see if the staff are paying attention to patrons and making sure they are seated correctly, strapped in accordingly, and that they are being helped on and off rides.
  • Watch the rides a few times before you get on so that you can make sure they are running soundly.
  • Trust your gut – if something seems off, then it probably is.

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ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol said a two-vehicle collision in Alachua County claimed the life of an elderly driver.

According to the Alachua Chronicle, the incident occurred Feb. 10 near the intersection of U.S Highway 441 and County Road 237.

State troopers said an 88-year-old woman was driving a sedan south on County Road 237 shortly before 7 p.m. when she pulled out onto the northbound lanes of U.S. 441.  The sedan entered the path of a northbound pickup truck and the vehicles collided.

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SPRING HILL, FL – A driver suspected of hitting two Spring Hill crossing guards in a hit-and-run incident this week was taken into custody, according to a WFLA report.

The crossing guards were struck by a vehicle at Deltona Boulevard and Northcliffe Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon at about 4 p.m.   The Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation found that the driver of a Ford Focus was struck by another vehicle and came to a stop.  The driver of the Ford then continued going in the wrong direction toward the intersection and hit one of the crossing guards, an 82-year-old man, then struck the other guard, a 52-year-old man.  The victims were seriously injured and rushed to an area hospital.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said the Focus was later located on Deltona Boulevard.  The alleged driver, 54-year-old Robert Noack, had walked away from the vehicle but was apprehended and arrested, authorities said.

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BROOKSVILLE, FL – An employee of the City of Brooksville Department of Public Works was killed when his sanitation truck crashed Monday morning, the Suncoast News reports.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the worker, Ed Johnson, was going south on US-41 at about 6:15 a.m. when he lost control of the truck and was unable to negotiate a curve in the roadway.  The truck hit a guardrail south of Mondon Hill Road, went down an embankment and partially overturned.  Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene.  Authorities said he was not wearing a seat belt at the time.

Johnson had retired from the DPW after 15 years on the job but returned to work in April 2023 because he loved the job, city officials said.

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WESLEY CHAPEL, FL – A collision on State Road 56 in Pasco County on Saturday afternoon left two people dead and four others injured, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

The accident happened at the intersection of State Road 56 and Piazza Avenue in Wesley Chapel at about 3 p.m.  According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of an eastbound Nissan Altima made a left turn and entered the path of a Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle.  The motorcyclist, a 30-year-old man from Tampa, struck the car and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The FHP said he had been traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the wreck.

A passenger in the Nissan, a 36-year-old woman from Fitzgerald, Georgia, died after being transported to an area hospital.  The driver of the Nissan, a 32-year-old woman from Wesley Chapel, and three adult passengers in her car sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.

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TARPON SPRINGS, FL – An accident involving a motorcycle and an SUV in Tarpon Springs Friday night left one person dead and another injured, reports WFTS.

The incident took place on U.S. Highway 19 near the intersection of Sun Valley Boulevard and E. Klosterman Road.

According to police, a 30-year-old woman was driving a 2021 Chevrolet Equinox SUV when she struck a 2018 Suzuki motorcycle at about 7:50 p.m.  A woman riding as a passenger on the motorcycle died at the scene. She was identified as 21-year-old Alina Faillios Chavez of Holiday.  The driver of the bike, 20-year-old Jaden Jackson of Holiday, was seriously injured and taken to Bayonet Point Hospital.

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MARION COUNTY, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal collision that took place in Marion County last week, the Ocala StarBanner reported.

Two vehicles, a Toyota Corolla and a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, were involved in the wreck on County Road 314 in Scrambletown on Feb. 2.

According to the FHP, the driver of the Toyota was going east sometime before 10 a.m. when she crossed over the double yellow line and veered into the westbound lane.  The Toyota collided head-on with the westbound Mitsubishi.

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