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Ocala man dies in crash in Weeki Wachee

Anthony Rennick of Gibson Towing loads the wrecked Pontiac onto his flatbed Thursday after the crash in Weeki Wachee.

RON THOMPSON | Times

Anthony Rennick of Gibson Towing loads the wrecked Pontiac onto his flatbed Thursday after the crash in Weeki Wachee.

WEEKI WACHEE — A 38-year-old Ocala man died in a predawn crash Thursday when his car slammed into a garbage truck at the intersection of U.S. 19 and State Road 50.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Richard B. Hazzard was northbound on U.S. 19 about 5:30 a.m. when his gray 2003 Pontiac sedan crashed into a 2002 Mack truck driven by Robert W. Spafford, 50, of Spring Hill. Spafford was driving west on SR 50, preparing to turn south onto U.S. 19.

Authorities said Hazzard was speeding when the crash occurred. The collision crumpled the Pontiac, trapping Hazzard inside. Rescuers had to use extraction equipment to remove the victim. Hazzard was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash forced authorities to reroute traffic around the busy intersection for more than an hour as the morning rush hour began.

The FHP said the wreck remains under investigation, and is asking that anyone who might have witnessed it to call (813) 631-4020.

A check of Hazzard's Florida driving record revealed several speeding violations in recent years. Last January, he was cited in Ocala for traveling 49 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1435.

Ocala man dies in crash in Weeki Wachee 01/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:11pm]
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