BY Shirley Hatch, Branford News Publisher

A mid-morning crash on SR 349 approximately two miles west of Branford left three people injured Monday, Jan. 26. An elderly couple were taken by Lafayette County EMS to Shands of Live Oak, and a third person was transported by private vehicle to the Veterans Hospital in Lake City.

A news media release from the division of Florida Highway Patrol- Troop B gave the following information. A '93 Dodge pickup driven by Jimmie Cope, 51, of Rt. 1 Box 482 Branford, was headed northbound and attempted to make a U-turn south and pulled into the path of a '93 Chevrolet passenger car driven by Minnie L. Chewning, age 77, of Cross City. Both she and her husband Julius Chewning, 82, were injured and transported to Shands at Live Oak.

According to the report, the car was traveling northbound on SR 349, the pickup truck was stopped in the east ditch area of SR 349 facing north when it attempted the U-turn. The front of the car struck the left front of the truck. The truck rotated clockwise approximately 300¡ and came to final rest in the northbound lane of SR 349 facing southwest, before bursting into flames.

The Chewning vehicle traveled into the east ditch area and struck a board fence before coming to final rest facing northeast.

According to the FHP report Cope gave voluntary consent for a blood draw at the scene. Charges are pending, blood results.

The report stated all three drivers were wearing seat belts.

Volunteers from fire units in Lafayette County; the Lafayette Sheriff's department and Suwannee County units all responded to the scene of the accident.

Trooper Daniel C. Caulk, FHP responded to the scene and filed the report.

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