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Troopers identify driver in death of flea-market dealer during Pasco carjacking

BAYONET POINT — Authorities have identified a man who appears to have been involved in a fatal carjacking crash Saturday, according to information from deputies and state troopers.

Jose Antonio Morales, 34, of Weeki Wachee, was critically injured in a crash just after 5 a.m. off State Road 52 while driving a 2018 Ford Explorer SUV, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Hermel Levesque, 74, of Port Richey, owner of the SUV, was killed in the crash, troopers say.

At around the same time Saturday morning, according to information from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Levesque was the victim of a possible carjacking. He had been setting up a flea-market table on the property of St. Marks Presbyterian Church on State Road 52 when his SUV left the area with him inside but with someone else driving, deputies said.

The Highway Patrol said Morales was behind the wheel as the SUV and an attached trailer headed east on S.R. 52. According to deputies, it left a trail of contents stretching a mile along the road from the parking lot to the intersection with Nature Trail.

That's where the driver, Morales, lost control, struck a palm tree and overturned, killing Levesque, the Highway Patrol said.

Morales was taken to a hospital. Authorities have released no updates about his condition.

Contact Justin Trombly at Follow @JustinTrombly.