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LADY LAKE, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol said a hit-and-run driver struck two pedestrians in Lake County on Sunday night, killing one of them.

According to the Villages-News, the two were walking northbound on the shoulder of Rolling Acres Road near West Lakeview Street in Lady Lake when the incident took place at about 9:47 p.m.

The FHP said the driver of a Jeep Cherokee went off the roadway and hit the pedestrians, and then fled the scene.

DUNELLON, FL – State troopers said a vehicle going south on SW 180th Avenue in Dunnellon was involved in a deadly crash over the weekend.

According to the Ocala News, five people were in a sedan involved in the accident on Saturday night at about 8:30 p.m.  The Florida Highway Patrol said a 27-year-old woman was driving near the intersection of SW Highway 484 when the vehicle struck a gate in the private driveway of Cannon Farms.  The car hit several fence posts and trees, and ended up on the driveway.

The driver, a Homosassa resident, was pronounced dead a short time later.  Four passengers in the sedan who range in age 18 to 25 were seriously injured and taken to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital.  Troopers said none of the occupants were wearing seat belts.

BROOKSVILLE, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol said a driver died after crashing into a home in Hernando County Wednesday morning.

According to WFTS, the accident happened on Fulton Avenue near Fox Sparrow Avenue in Brooksville shortly before noon. State troopers determined that a 57-year-old man was speeding in a Toyota Prius while heading west when he lost control of his car on a curve in the road.

The car went off the roadway, hit an embankment and a tree, and then plowed into a home on Fulton Avenue before catching fire.  The motorist, a Port Richey resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two people in the house were not injured.

CRYSTAL RIVER, FL – An accident in Citrus County involving a sport utility vehicle left a driver dead, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

According to WFLA, the wreck happened in Crystal River Wednesday morning at about 1:30 a.m.  State troopers said a 33-year-old man was driving an SUV west on Fort Island Trail and was not able to negotiate a curve in the roadway near North Seabreeze Point.

The SUV went off the roadway, struck a tree and overturned.  The driver, a Lecanto resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

MASARYKTOWN, FL – State troopers said one person was killed and another seriously injured in a collision in Pasco County late Friday night.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the incident happened at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Bowman Road south of Masaryktown just before 11 p.m.  The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of an eastbound pickup truck was turning from Bowman Road onto U.S. 41 and entered the path of a northbound van, resulting in a crash.

The driver of the van, a 79-year-old Spring Hill man, was pronounced dead after being taken to an area hospital.  A passenger in the van, a 59-year-old Weeki Wachee woman, was seriously injured.

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the Southern Baptist Convention in the wake of its clergy sexual abuse crisis.

The DOJ has subpoenaed the SBC’s Nashville-based Executive Committee, but no individuals have been subpoenaed at this time, according to reports.

This investigation comes months after a 288-page scorching report from the investigative firm Guidepost Solutions that showed how SBC leaders mishandled claims of sexual abuse claims for decades and went as far as to threaten and mistreat abuse victims.

Leaders from SBC seminaries, missionary groups, the Executive Committee, as well as the SBC’s newly elected president, Texas pastor Bart Berber, promised to cooperate fully with the DOJ’s investigation.

Black-Good-Friday-Elegant-Facebook-300x251So, what does this mean for victims and why is the DOJ investigating now? In the past, the DOJ would not usually get involved in sex abuse claims as these are normally handled by state or local law enforcement. The DOJ will get involved in cases where a federal crime has occurred, such as transporting trafficking or sex abuse victims across state lines.

It is rare to hear about the FBI investigating the activities of religious groups, but as the DOJ is currently investigating the Archdiocese of New Orleans to discover whether abusive Catholic priests traveled with children across state lines, news of their investigation into the sex abuse claims among the SBC, which operates 47,000 independent member churches nationwide – not just in the South, does not come as a big surprise following the blistering report released by Guidepost documenting more than 20 years of sex abuse claims involving an estimated 400 SBC leaders.

The DOJ has also been prompted to become more proactive in sex abuse claims involving larger organizations following the USA Gymnastics scandal involving Dr. Larry Nassar, a former team doctor, who was arrested and sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 females. A 2021 Justice Department report uncovered that the FBI mishandled allegations of sex abuse of athletes by Nassar.

Investigating church leaders for covering up sex abuse can be challenging, but it can be done. It must be demonstrated that there was some type of intent to protect or hide the abuser. It will certainly be interesting to see how the DOJ investigation into the SBC plays out – our hope is that all survivors of abuse at the hands of SBC leaders will achieve some sense of justice. Our SBC Sex Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help clergy sex abuse survivors discover all of their legal options.

After being the victim of sex abuse from a trusted church member or leader, you may be feeling a wide range of emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, and even withdrawal from your church, family, and friends.

The impact of being sexually abused can be long-lasting, especially when the abuser sees no repercussions for their illegal actions and continues to go about their life, possibly harming more people. You deserve to seek damages for the harm that you endured, and you may be wondering how you can do that. A sexual abuse lawsuit can allow you to seek justice via financial compensation for all your suffering – physical, emotional, and mental. You need to have a strong legal advocate on your side who can guide you through the process and handle your sex abuse case with the utmost care. Our SBC Sex Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know the laws that apply to these cases, the statute of limitations, and more. We can handle all the legal aspects of your case, so that you can focus your efforts on recovering and healing from this trauma.

Whenever you are ready, we can listen to the details of your incident and help you understand all the strengths and weaknesses of your case. We will be open and honest with you about where you stand and what we think the potential outcome could be. We can help you build a strong case so that you can recover full and fair compensation that reflects the justice you are entitled to. Continue reading

LAND O’LAKES, FL – Authorities are searching for the driver who struck a bicycle rider in Pasco County Saturday night and kept going.

The Tampa Free Press reports the victim was a 55-year-old man from Hudson who was seriously injured. He was hit by a vehicle that was going west on Lake Patience Road near American Plaza Boulevard in Land O’Lakes at about 10:17 p.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of the vehicle fled the scene afterwards.  A passenger side mirror was found at the scene indicating that the vehicle involved was a gray Nissan Altima.  Anyone with further information on the hit-and-run was asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol or Crime Stoppers.

SUMTER COUNTY, FL – A man was convicted last week in connection with a fatal accident in Sumter County, according to the Citrus County Chronicle.

33-year-old Anthony Nepoleon Brown of Wildwood was found guilty of several charges in connection with the August 22, 2017 incident that led to the death of 55-year-old Laura Lee Price of Inverness.

Authorities said Brown was driving a BMW 550i as he attempted to flee from Wildwood Police and Sumter County deputies.  He went through a stop sign in the area of State Road 44 and Sumter County Road 219 and crashed into a Honda CRV driven by Price.   The BMW then sideswiped a Chevy pickup truck and hit a Mack semi-trailer truck.

HERNANDO COUNTY, FL – A motorcyclist died following an accident on Ayers Road in Hernando County late Wednesday night.

According to the Tampa Free Press, the victim was a 41-year-old man from Brookville.  The Florida Highway Patrol said the rider was heading east near Trillium Boulevard when he lost control while negotiating a curve in the roadway at about 10:50 p.m.

The motorcycle entered the grass median and then overturned, state troopers said.  The rider was ejected from the motorcycle and died at the scene.

OCALA, FL – A collision between two vehicles in Marion County sent one of the drivers to the hospital, the Ocala-News reports.

Police, fire and emergency crews responded to the scene Monday night in the 5000 block of SW 60th Street in Ocala at about 8:45 p.m.  First responders saw an Audi in the middle of the road with damage on the front passenger side, and a Ford on a fence next to a tree with heavy damage on the passenger side.

The driver of the Ford was taken to an area hospital with injuries from the accident.  The driver of the Audi needed help getting out of the vehicle but did not need to be extricated.  No other injuries were reported.   No details were immediately available on what led to the crash.

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