Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fatal crash in Dunedin kills visiting Indiana county's coroner

DUNEDIN — A longtime Indiana coroner vacationing here with family died Thursday after he lost control of his vehicle and drove into a ditch.

Authorities say a medical condition may have played a role in the crash that killed Martin Avolt, 70, coroner of Tippecanoe County in Indiana.

The crash happened at about 9 a.m. as Avolt drove west on Curlew Road with his 13-year-old grandson.

That's when the boy pointed out that Avolt — in the right-turn-only lane that turns into the Waterford Crossing subdivision at Challenger Drive — was in the wrong lane.

Authorities say Avolt abruptly swerved to the left and lost control — striking several traffic barriers, crossing into the eastbound lanes of Curlew and skidding off the road. The vehicle went through two chain link fences, down into a wooded ravine and came to rest against a tree.

Avolt's grandson was uninjured. He got out of the vehicle and flagged down deputies, who called for help. Avolt was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

News of Avolt's death quickly spread across the Internet on Thursday. Media reports say Avolt, who lived in Lafayette, Ind., was visiting his son, daughter-in-law and their grandchildren in Palm Harbor before school starts.

The Lafayette, Ind.-based Journal & Courier reported that Avolt had served eight years as deputy coroner, spent nearly 20 years in the top coroner job and was running unopposed for the office this November.

Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh credited Avolt with revolutionizing his industry.

"What a wonderful, wonderful man he was," Murtaugh told the Journal & Courier. "He has absolutely led the charge in professionalizing the office of coroner for the state of Indiana."

The Pinellas Sheriff's Major Accident Investigation Team is continuing to investigate the incident.

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Fatal crash in Dunedin kills visiting Indiana county's coroner 08/16/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  2. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico

    World

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  3. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'

    World

    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."

  4. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]