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Community Interest

ALACHUA – Separate vehicle accidents Friday and Saturday proved fatal for three area residents. An angular head-on collision between two vehicles resulted in two deaths and three others in critical to serious condition early Friday morning, Oct. 28, according to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) report.

A 2015 Volkswagon Jetta driven by 29-year-old Johana Lee Klinger, of Okeechobee, Florida, was traveling south in the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 441 at approximately 1 a.m. when her vehicle crashed into a 2004 Toyota Scion heading north in the northbound lane.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Southwest 56th Place and U.S. Hwy. 441, in unincorporated Alachua County.

Klinger's only passenger, 10-year-old Joseph Beal, Jr., was in critical condition following the crash.

The driver of the Scion was 27-year-old Goytia Diaz, of Wesley Chapel, Florida. Both Diaz and one of her passengers, 4-year-old Iyanna Williams, of Micanopy, were pronounced dead. Another passenger, 19-year-old Bryanna Georgia Williams, also from Micanopy, suffered critical injuries.

All survivors were taken to UF Health-Shands Hospital.

The accident is still under investigation and charges are pending. At the time the report was written, it was unknown whether alcohol played a part in the crash.

On Oct. 29, a Suwannee County crash on Saturday afternoon resulted in the death of an Alachua resident, and serious injuries to the driver and passenger of a second vehicle according to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) report.

Ronald Irvin Emerson, Alachua, was traveling southbound on 77th Road approaching State Road 247 in his 1993 Toyota Tacoma when he attempted to cross S.R. 247. A 2012 Ford F150, driven by 47-year-old Joseph Walter Wood, Jr., White Springs, was pulling a boat as he traveled eastbound on S.R. 247.

According to FHP documents, Emerson pulled into the path of Wood's truck and boat. The front right side of Emerson's Tacoma collided with the front left side of Wood's vehicle. The Tacoma rotated counter clock-wise coming to a final rest facing in a northwesterly direction. Wood's truck slid off the south shoulder of the roadway and the front of Emerson's vehicle collided with a tree. The boat being pulled by Wood's truck detached from its trailer and lunged forward into the truck's cab.

Woods and his passenger, 45-year-old Shannan Michelle Thomas, also from White Springs, were flown to UF Health-Shands Hospital for treatment. Both were listed in serious condition.

Emerson was pronounced deceased at the scene by Suwannee County rescue personnel.

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