Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville police officer injured in rear-end crash

BROOKSVILLE — A Brooksville police officer was flown to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point on Tuesday morning after her patrol vehicle was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The six-vehicle chain-reaction collision sent three others to the hospital with minor injuries.

Officer Meredith Blackman was in stable condition Tuesday afternoon.

Police Chief George Turner said the crash happened about 8 a.m. on Broad Street near Main Street in downtown Brooksville.

Blackman's marked Ford Crown Victoria was stopped at a traffic signal behind four other vehicles in the eastbound lane of Broad when a Ford F-150 driven by Catlin Joseph Nichols, 25, slammed into the rear of the vehicle at about 40 mph. Authorities said he did not brake.

Nichols, who lives in the town of Hernando in Citrus County, had been working the night shift and fell asleep at the wheel, which caused the collision, according to Brooksville police. He was cited for careless driving.

Blackman's cruiser sustained heavy damage.

After being struck by the pickup, the police cruiser collided with a 1999 Nissan driven by Tisa Thomas, 29. Thomas' vehicle then slammed into a 2012 Ford driven by Lucille Chwalik, 51, which hit a 2011 Nissan operated by Dennis Thompson, 41. Thompson's vehicle then hit a 2010 Toyota driven by Victoria Conklin, 65.

Nichols, Thomas and Chwalik were all taken to Bayfront Health Brooksville, where they were treated and released.

Witness Stephanie Martin said the impact knocked Blackman unconscious for a short time, but she was alert by the time paramedics arrived. Turner said he spoke with Blackman at the scene and found her to be groggy, but responsive to questions. He didn't believe her injuries were life-threatening.

Blackman has been with the Brooksville Police Department for about a year, the chief said, and was on patrol duty at the time of the crash.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

Brooksville police officer injured in rear-end crash 05/13/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]