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Clearwater woman, 61, dies in Sumter County crash

CLEARWATER

Woman, 61, dies in Sumter County crash

A 61-year-old Clearwater woman died and three people, including a 3-year-old girl, were seriously injured in a car accident Sunday morning in Sumter County.

Gloria D. Byars died at the scene of the accident, which happened shortly after 11:30 a.m. on County Road 475 just north of CR 314, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Byars was a passenger in a truck driven by 48-year-old Robert W. Bowles, also of Clearwater. The accident happened when 26-year-old Keara Simmons, who was southbound on CR 475, veered onto the shoulder and lost control as she tried to get back onto the road. Simmons' 2005 Nissan sport utility vehicle then crossed into the northbound lanes, where it was struck by Bowles' 1985 Ford F-150 pickup. The SUV flipped onto its side. Bowles was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Keara Simmons was taken to Leesburg Regional Medical Center and her passenger, Kenyla Simmons, was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Both suffered serious injuries, according to the report. Keara and Kenyla Simmons are both from Lake Panasoffkee. No charges had been filed Sunday evening.

PORT RICHEY

80 jobs lost at three dealerships

Gulfview Motors, part of Pasco County's business scene for nearly a quarter century, has announced it will shut down today, along with two Hernando County dealerships under the same ownership. Hernando Autoworld Mitsubishi of Spring Hill and Hernando Suzuki also are shutting their doors. The closings, which employees learned about Saturday, leave about 80 people out of work. In a prepared statement, Gulfview president and founder Leon Kreisler called the closings "one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.'' Sales staffers at Gulfview Motors, wearing the signature blue dress shirts, sat Sunday outside the small building on U.S. 19 with its matching blue-shingled roof. Blue and white flags and balloons fluttered in the breeze. Written on the curb in front of each parking space: "We're celebrating our 24th year." The employees declined to comment. A skeleton staff will work for the next week at Gulfview Motors' Port Richey showroom and the Suzuki dealership near Brooksville to answer questions and deal with customer concerns. After that, all operations will be transferred to Hernando Mitsubishi at 3477 Commercial Way in Spring Hill.

WESTON

Black bear caught near golf course

The search for an elusive black bear in South Florida is over. Wildlife officials spotted the bear Sunday morning near the edge of a golf course and later tranquilized it. The 200-pound black bear will be transferred to Picayune Strand State Forest in Collier County. The bear was first spotted in mid April. Officials said it was likely searching for territory not already taken by another male. This week the bear was seen in the city of Weston in Broward County. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are 2,500 to 3,000 black bears in the state. They are listed as a threatened species, although it's common to see bears as development encroaches upon their habitat.

Times staff, wire reports

Clearwater woman, 61, dies in Sumter County crash 05/31/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:14pm]

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