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December 26 traffic fatality connected to large late-night gathering

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

An email from Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones to Interim City Manager Cynthia Curry, obtained from the City’s email portal, describes the events that led up to a fatal accident in the early hours of December 26.

According to the email, a crowd had gathered earlier in the evening at Dee’s Liquor on SE 13th Street and at “other locations.” The group attempted to move to T.B. McPherson Park and Lincoln Park, but “their attempts were unsuccessful.” They then made their way to Lot 13, at 106 SW 1st Avenue in downtown Gainesville

According to Jones, the crowd was “unmasked” and “played loud music, smoked cannabis and drank” in the parking lot. Officers were able to resolve some noise complaints, but the crowd remained in Lot 13 for some time.

Jones added, “There were no overtime units for the night and the crowd required several patrol units for monitoring and deterrence.”

At about 2:00 a.m., the crowd moved to the Wawa located at 2305 NW 13th Street, and the fatal accident occurred at 2:50 a.m. as the man drove out of the Wawa parking lot, the car struck the curb/median, and he was fatally injured when the car rolled over.

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Multiple sources who do not want to go on the record have reported to Alachua Chronicle that this type of “moving party” is a frequent occurrence on the weekends in Gainesville.

Gainesville Police Department spokesman Graham Glover said the department had no additional comments.

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