Multiple victims flown to UF Health after Middleburg crash


Update, 2:43 p.m.: County Road 218 is now open to traffic in both directions.

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A two-vehicle crash in the Lake Asbury area Friday morning sent at least four people to the hospital and halted traffic on County Road 218, authorities said.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash was reported about 11:15 a.m. on CR 218 near Henley Road between Middleburg and Green Cove Springs.

FHP says there are injuries. Scanner traffic suggests multiple victims were flown via Life Flight to UF Health Jacksonville.

Initial reports suggest one of the victims had to be cut out of a pickup truck after striking another vehicle head-on.

We'll update this developing story as we learn more.

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91-year-old woman, three pets dead after Middleburg fire


MIDDLEBURG, Fla -- A fire that broke out at a Middleburg mobile home Wednesday has claimed the lives of a 91-year-old woman and three pets, and put another person in the hospital.

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Clay County Sheriff's spokesperson Mary Justino toldFirst Coast News the fire started on Nighthawk Lane in a rural part of Middleburg.

On Thursday morning, Catherine Johnson succumbed to her injuries in the hospital, Justino said. Johnson had initially escaped the fire but went back inside to retrieve her belongings and was injured in the process, according to CCSO.

Pair arrested in Middleburg auto burglary spree


MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Deputies in Clay County put an end to an auto burglary spree, clearing 26 cases from last fall, with the arrest of two suspects Friday, authorities said.

According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Aaron Jason Driver, 18, and Chase Daniel Bennett, 19, both of Middleburg, each face a list of charges stemming from dozens of break-ins over a one-month stretch last fall.

Jail records show Bennett faces 14 counts of auto burglary along with four counts of grand theft. Driver, meanwhile, faces 10 counts of auto burglary along with two grand theft counts and a misdemeanor count of petty theft.

Power restored to thousands of Middleburg residents


MIDDLEBURG- Thousands of customers of Clay Electric woke up in the dark Tuesday morning.

About 4,000 customers were without power following a power surge, overloading their circuits Monday night, according to Clay Electric's Communications Manager Wayne Mattox.

The company took a substation offline for maintenance on Monday, Mattox said. Colder than expected temperatures, along with reduced capacity, caused the overload and outage.

The power was restored around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.


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Deputies: Man killed by lawnmower


MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Deputies are investigating how a large lawnmower fell on top of a man Thursday afternoon in the Fox Meadow subdivision of Middleburg in what appears to be a tragic accident.

The man's wife returned from running errands to the couple's home, located in the 1200 block of Foxmeadow Trail, about 2:30 p.m., according to Clay County Sheriff's Office. When she stopped in the garage to say hello to her husband, there was no response, deputies said.

That's when she called 911. After deputies hoisted the 750-pound lawnmower off of him, the victim -- identified as 68-year-old Benjamin Connor Roberts, III -- was pronounced dead.

Family members told investigators Roberts had recently started working on the mower in an effort to get it running again.


Middleburg helps family after horrific murder, kidnapping


MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A community is coming together to help the family reeling from a horrific tragedy in Middleburg.

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Adam Bell owns Cedar River Seafood in Middleburg on Blanding Boulevard.

When he heard about the crimes that happened at the family's home on Mayflower Street earlier this month, he knew he wanted to help.

"I know anything will help right now, this time of year and so close to the holidays," he said.

Clay deputies arrest car burglary suspect


CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies investigating a reported car burglary in Middleburg arrested one suspect following a brief search early Tuesday, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Chase Daniel Bennett, 18, of Orange Park, is charged with burglary to an unoccupied conveyance, a felony, and petit theft, a misdemeanor, according to an arrest report.

That's after a man returning to his home in the 2100 block of Pine Tree Lane about 2:30 a.m. spotted a suspect exit his vehicle, the report said. When the suspect noticed the man returning, he ran away west on Pine Tree Lane.

Deputies set up a perimeter around the neighborhood. With the help of a K9, investigators found the suspect, identified as Bennett, hiding in the front yard of a neighboring home, according to the report. When the victim spotted him, he immediately confirmed Bennett was the suspect seen exiting his vehicle.