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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Two dead in accidents following early-morning storm

<p dir="ltr"><span>Cars drive through flooding in The Ridge at Gainesville’s parking lot on Tuesday morning.</span></p><p><span> </span></p>

Cars drive through flooding in The Ridge at Gainesville’s parking lot on Tuesday morning.


Tuesday morning’s raging thunderstorm brought along with it flooding, power outages and two fatal accidents — one involving an airplane.

At about 9 a.m., in the midst of heavy rain and wind, officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office found a pilot dead in a small airplane crash near Micanopy, according to a press release.

The pilot, Riley Stevens, 64, of Anderson, South Carolina, was the plane’s sole occupant.

Stevens was flying from Sebring, Florida, to South Carolina when the crash happened, according to the press release.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

MCSO said officials are unsure if the storm was a factor in the crash, although it happened during severe weather.

About four hours later, once the storm had passed, an Alachua man crashed his SUV into a tree off Northwest 13th Street after losing control on the roadway.

The vehicle flipped, ejecting 55-year-old Theodore Williard Roberts and killing him, Gainesville Police spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias wrote in an email.

The vehicle wound up on its roof.

GPD closed a portion of the road while officers investigated the crash.

Amid 30 mph winds, about 1,800 Gainesville Regional Utilities customers lost power in their homes at about 8 a.m., said senior communication specialist Tiffany Small.

GRU workers restored all power by noon, she said.

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Several Regional Transit System bus routes were delayed and rerouted after a branch fell in front of Gainesville High School.

RTS bus routes 8 and 29 were rerouted and route 10 was delayed, said City of Gainesville As- sistant Public Information Officer Chip Skinner.

Workers clean up flooding on the ground floor of Matherly Hall, east of Library West on the UF campus on Tuesday morning. Some professors canceled classes due to the flooding.


During the peak of the storm, Alachua County Fire Rescue sent out a tornado warning alert at 9 a.m. after the National Weather Service noticed conditions on the radar that could cause tornadoes, Chief Larry Stewart said.

The tornado warning was lifted 45 minutes later, and the flood warning was in effect until 11:30 a.m.

Stewart warned residents against driving due to fallen trees and broken traffic lights.

“Pay attention to what the weather is doing,” he said. “Stay off the road if at all possible.” However, some students trekked through the heavy rain and were met with flooded hallways.

In an email to her students, UF associate professor Beth Rosenson canceled class as a result of the storm. She warned students that Matherly Hall was flooded, and classrooms would be inaccessible for hours.

Cleanup crews spent the morning draining the ground floor of Matherly, UF spokesperson Janine Sikes wrote in an email.

“We received so much rain this morning that the drains were unable to keep up with it,” she said. “This was an unexpectedly lengthy downpour.”

Alligator Staff writers Max Chesnes and Romy Ellenbogen contributed to this report.

Contact Meryl Kornfield at and follow her on Twitter at @MerylKornfield

Cars drive through flooding in The Ridge at Gainesville’s parking lot on Tuesday morning.


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