Suwannee Democrat

Local News

May 23, 2006

I-10 crash kills former Lt. Gov. Tom Adams

Flags across Florida on state property are flying at half-staff in honor of former lieutenant governor and former secretary of state Tom Adams who was killed in Suwannee County May 22 on Interstate 10 in a single vehicle crash.

Thomas Burton "Tom" Adams Jr., 89, of Fellsmere, who served as lieutenant governor of Florida from 1971-75 and secretary of state from 1961-71, died at the scene of the accident on I-10 at the Suwannee and Columbia county lines at about 2:50 p.m. Monday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Adams did not have on his seat belt when the crash occurred, FHP said.

Adams' son, Thomas Burton Adams III, 19, also of Fellsmere, who did have on his seat belt when the crash occurred, was a passenger in the 2004 Sport Trac his father was driving when the accident happened about 10 miles northeast of Live Oak on I-10, FHP said. The younger Adams was trapped inside the overturned vehicle for a time while Columbia County EMS, Suwannee County Fire Rescue, Lake City Fire, West Columbia Volunteer fire fighters and Wellborn Volunteer Fire fighters worked to extricate him. The son was seriously injured and was transported by helicopter to Shands at UF where he is currently being treated for his injuries.

Adams was apparently traveling from Tallahassee to Gainesville to UF where his son, a recent high school graduate, is to attend college beginning with the next semester, FHP said.

Gov. Bush has asked that all state and local government agencies join him in honor of former Lt. Gov. Tom Adams by lowering their U.S. and state flags and keeping them at half-staff until the day of interment.

Because there was confusion as to whether the crash was inside Suwannee or Columbia counties, both counties sent emergency crews to the scene, with Columbia arriving first.

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