2 dead in head-on crash near Myakka City

ejohnson@bradenton.comJanuary 8, 2013 

— Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol are trying to determine what caused a two-vehicle crash that killed two women and seriously injured two other people on State Road 64 on Tuesday night.

“As far as the cause, it’s still pending investigation,” said Sgt. William Pascoe. “The medical examiner will do a toxicology test to see if the driver of the one vehicle had any impairment.”

Pascoe said the road was dry and weather conditions were clear, so there are no apparent environmental factors in the crash. However, visibility may have been hindered due to the road’s layout.

The head-on crash happened on a tight curve a half-mile west of Verna Bethany Road at about 7 p.m., FHP said.

“Because it’s on an S-curve where the crash happened, some of their visibility would have been affected prior to the crash,” Pascoe said.

No skid marks were visible on the roadway, Pascoe added.

Investigators believe Lisa Kaye Gunn, 50, whose Mazda SUV crossed the center line into the path of an oncoming vehicle, was probably on her way home in Myakka City. They are unclear why the Hoffman family, of Sarasota, riding in a Ford Explorer, was in the area, Pascoe said.

Gunn died at the scene, and a passenger in the second vehicle, Nadine Hoffman, 56, died at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton. A 58-year-old man who was driving and 15-year-old male passenger were taken to Blake Medical Center. As of noon Wednesday, FHP had not been updated on their conditions.

“We haven’t been notified that they have passed, so I’m assuming they’re still alive,” Pascoe said. “They were both seriously injured. At laest one of them was going into surgery (Tuesday) night.”

Investigators have not had a chance to speak with the survivors, he added.

Jack Banter, the caretaker at nearby Bethany Baptist Church, said he heard a medical helicopter approach after the crash and had a bad feeling.

“People don’t realize the extent of that curve,” Banter said. “You can’t carry that much speed into that curve.”

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