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Another pedestrian killed on dark road

(ran North, South editions of Pasco Times)

In this part of Citrus County, 2004 ended the same tragic way it started: with a pedestrian dying on that dark stretch of U.S. 19 near W McKinley Street.

That point of the highway is 1 mile north of Cardinal Street and 2 miles south of Yulee Drive.

About 12:30 a.m. Friday, a Homosassa man was driving south on U.S. 19 at McKinley. His vehicle struck Gregory W. Benefield, who was in the highway's inside southbound lane, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Benefield, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 2 miles from his home, which is off Cardinal.

On Jan. 3, a man had stepped into U.S. 19's southbound lane and was struck by a car and killed, the patrol reported at the time. The victim, Charles S. Hutchins, was 62.

That accident happened about 8:30 p.m. About that same time on Sept. 22, it happened again.

Thomas J. Naughton, 72, tried to cross U.S. 19's southbound lanes near McKinley when a southbound car struck and killed him, the patrol reported.

The driver involved in the accident early Friday was Stavros J. Spiropoulos, 19. A man who answered the phone at his home Friday said that no one had any comment.

The patrol report indicates that he was not injured, but the van he was driving sustained $5,000 in damage.

The victim's family also declined to comment Friday.

There were no charges in the January or September crashes, court records show. An FHP report indicated there would be no charges in the Friday accident either.