06/19/03
Wrecks kill man, hospitalize woman


Two vehicle wrecks Wednesday claimed the life of one Arcadia man and left another area resident critically injured.

An early morning wreck on State Road 72 just west of Myakka State Park Road in Sarasota County claimed the life of William E. Layport Jr., 33, of Arcadia shortly before 5:30 a.m. Reports from the Florida Highway Patrol show that Layport was westbound on the state highway in a 1993 Ford when a 1999 Isuzu driven by Adam Richmond of Sarasota crossed the center line.

The two vehicles collided head-on.

Richmond, 24, who was not wearing a seat belt, received minor injuries. Layport, who was wearing his restraint, was pronounced dead at the scene and taken to the medical examiner's office in Sarasota.

Layport, who was reportedly on his way to work, is survived by his wife, Dottie, and three young sons, William, Floyd and Cody. A family member said the family did not have insurance and Layport was the sole source of income for the family.

Another wreck shortly after noon resulted in an Arcadia woman being airlifted to Tampa General Hospital after her 2001 Ford Mustang was crushed by a tractor-trailer just south of Fort Ogden.

The wreck occurred near the intersection of U.S. 17 and County Road 761.

According to FHP Trooper D. Tomlinson, the woman injured was Catherine Freeland, 35, of Arcadia.

"(Freeland) had pulled onto the southbound shoulder to assist a stranded motorist who was stopped on the northbound shoulder," Tomlinson said. "(The tractor-trailer) was southbound on (U.S. 17)."

As the truck, driven by James Donaldson of Nocatee, approached the two vehicles, Freeland reportedly pulled back onto the southbound lane and did not see the approaching vehicle. The truck broadsided the Mustang and came to rest in the northbound lane. The section of highway was closed for nearly an hour to allow a Tampa General helicopter to land.

The DeSoto County Sheriff's Office, DeSoto EMS and the FHP all responded to the scene.

According to a spokesperson for Tampa General, Freeland is listed in serious condition. The extent of her injuries was not released.

Family members of Freeland could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon. Charges in the wreck are still pending.

You can reach Steve Blanchard at sblanchard@sun-herald.com


By STEVE BLANCHARD

DeSoto News Editor