The Voice of the Gem City

News March 3, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The pilot of a stunt plane that crashed Wednesday afternoon at Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine is in critical condition, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The crash is under investigation. The 49-year-old woman from Corvalis, Oregon, was approaching from the west when it made a hard right turn flying parallel to a runway for about 800 feet. For an unknown reason it then headed into the ground at the end of the runway crashing to the marsh at a fairly high rate of speed, according to witnesses. One possible cause of the crash might be a bird hitting the engine. It’s the time of the year when migratory birds are in flight.  

In Palatka a Palatka Police Department sergeant is on administrative leave and another drive-by shooting is under investigation in two separate unrelated incidents. Sgt. Robert Nelson’s name had come up last week during a Palatka City Commission meeting when several people spoke of shootings on Palatka’s Northside over the last two weeks. One was Latonia Hightower who told of 20 shots being fired into her house. She said she had told police of overhearing an individual talk of planning the shooting and Nelson reportedly laughed. However, the current internal review involving Nelson has to do with a high-speed chase down Reid Street Feb. 7. A separate drive-by shooting incident occurred Tuesday in Palatka where several shots were fired around 4:45 p.m. outside a Laurel Street residence and a gray Nissan sped off from the house. No one in the car could be identified  by the individual at the residence who reportedly grabbed a gun and rushed out to see the Nissan leaving. The incident may have been in retaliation for a fight earlier in the day at Taco Bell on Crill Avenue. It’s the seventh shooting in about 10 days.

A 38-year-old woman is in critical condition after a two-vehicle crash Wednesday evening at Belle Terre Parkway and Pine Grove Drive in Palm Coast. The woman was apparently ejected from one of the vehicles. The crash involved a Nissan Rogue and an antique car. The SUV broadsided the antique car about 6:30 p.m. The accident victim was flown by Flagler County FireFlight to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.

Skydive Palatka will have the air full of people jumping out of planes Friday through Sunday. The jumpers are part of the Round Canopy Parachuting Team — USA. They’ll be jumping from a World War C-47 known as Tico Belle and a recently acquired C-45. The Round Canopy group increases public awareness about the role of Allied paratroopers in World War II. 

Tonight’s the night Sean Dietrich will be in Palatka to discuss his book, “The Incredible Winston Browne”. That’s the One Book One Putnam Community Read for 2022. Sean of the South’s free talk is at 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida School of the Arts. Tickets are free and required for the event. You get them by going to

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