MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Three people died in separate fatal crashes that happened two hours apart Friday afternoon in Marion County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers said the first incident was a chain-reaction crash that happened at 2:05 p.m. on northbound U.S. 441 near County Road 329 and involved a motor home, a Cadillac, a freight truck and a Mercedes.
Traffic was congested and several vehicles were stopped when a motorhome with a car in tow, driven by 76-year-old Herbert Goldman of Jensen Beach, failed to slow and crashed into a Cadillac DTS, driven by 69-year-old Joshua Slaughter, according to a news release.
The impact of the crash pushed the Cadillac into a cab-only freight truck, driven by 69-year-old Robert Isham, authorities said. That impact pushed the truck forward into a Mercedes 4S, driven by 72-year-old Nancy Boylston.
The motorhome also hit the freight truck, which caused it to overturn on its left side.
Troopers said Joshua Slaughter died at the scene and his front passenger, 72-year-old Rita Slaughter, died at Ocala Regional Medical Center shortly after her arrival.
Herbert Goldman and his passenger, 72-year-old Carole Goldman, suffered minor injuries as did Isham and Boylston.
The second incident was a single-vehicle crash at 4:05 p.m. on County 42, east of SE 175th Terrace Road.
Troopers said 39-year-old Eric Anderson of Ocala was driving a Ford F150 when he failed to negotiate a right curve and crossed into eastbound traffic then exited the road and a struck a fence and multiple trees.
Anderson died at the scene of the crash.
Neither of the two crashes was alcohol-related and all seven people involved were wearing seatbelts.