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A Thursday crash on U.S. Highway 41, just south of the intersection at County Road 335, at 8:20 p.m. claimed the lives of two Newberry residents, one of whom was honored this month as Alachua County's Crossing Guard of the Year.
It also tied up the busy highway that passes through the Raleigh community, which has a blinker at the intersection, and connects Archer, Newberry and Williston, among other rural communities.
Their deaths bring to four the number of traffic deaths in Levy County since the beginning of 2013, according to Florida Highway Patrol's Troop B spokeswoman, Sgt. Tracy Hisler-Pace.
Wilbur Ladue Barlow, 76, and Julia Barlow, 77, were traveling north on U.S. 41 in their 2012 Toyota Prius as Floyd A Wyatt, 46, of Winter Park, was backing a 1999 Freightliner semi-trailer across the roadway onto private property.
The Prius, driven by Wilbur Barlow, collided with the 53-foot trailer, going under it and continuing to travel another approximately 625-feet before it came to rest pm a grass shoulder. Both car occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on its Twitter account, said the office "is saddened by the death of School Crossing Guards Wilbur and Julia Barlow. Both had been School Crossing Guards since 2004 & 2005 respectively. Mrs. Barlow was recently named the Alachua County Crossing Guard of the Year at a ceremony earlier this month. This community and agency truly lost two heroes. Please keep the Barlow family and the children whose lives they enriched in your thoughts and prayers."
The earlier deaths in Levy County were:
• Jo-Ann Braswell Bailey, 66, who died in a similar accident on Jan. 24 when her minivan collided with a flatbed trailer on Northwest 55th Avenue, two miles north of County Road 330. She was driving a 2003 Pontiac mini-van southbound on Northwest 55th Avenue as William A. Graden, 28, of Chiefland was attempting to back a 1997 Freightliner semi and flatbed from the northbound lane into a driveway. The trailer was across the southbound lane when the front of the mini-van collided with the trailer.
• Teresa Reed Riedel, 49, of Chiefland died in a crash on Jan. 29 when a vehicle failed to stop at the intersection of U.S. Highway 129 and County Road 346A just east of Chiefland and collided with Riedel's vehicle.
All three accidents are under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol. The latest accident is being investigated by Trooper S. Martin.