Traffic in the westbound lane of U.S. Highway 98 was snarled for hours on May 31 due to a multi-vehicle accident during peak traffic hours on the area's busiest highway, leaving one passenger dead and another injured.
Emergency response vehicles were called at 6:32 p.m. to the intersection of U.S. 98 and Edgewood Drive in Navarre.
A 2004 maroon Dodge Durango was exiting Edgewood Drive into the eastbound lane of U.S. 98 while a 2012 White Nissan Altima traveling in the outside westbound lane of U.S. 98, said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper P. LeBrun. A third car, a 2002 Acura, was also westbound on U.S. 98, on the inside lane.
The driver of the Durango, age 15, was stopped at the stop sign on Edgewood, then proceeded into traffic on U.S. 98, into the oncoming path of the Altima. The driver of the Altima braked but could not avoid the Durango, according the FHP report.
The front of the Durango hit the left side of the Altima, sending it careening out of control and spinning into the path of the Acura. The front left of the Acura then hit the rear of the Altima.
Margart Catyb, 77, of Dracut, Mass., was a passenger in the Altima and sustained critical injuries during the accident. She was transported to Gulf Breeze Hospital and was pronounced dead later that evening. There were no other significant injuries to other drivers or passengers.
The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol Traffic Homicide Unit.