State Road 710 crash claims Stuart woman’s life

OKEECHOBEE — A Stuart women died from injuries sustained in a Monday, Dec. 11, motor vehicle crash on SR 710 in Okeechobee County. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) report, neither driver was wearing a seat belt.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and Florida Highway Patrol reported the accident occurred at 8:42 p.m. on Dec. 11 in the 12000 block of State Road 710.

Julie Ann Brown, 60, of Stuart, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“On Monday, Dec. 11, I responded to a traffic crash in the 12000 block of State Road 710,” stated OCSO Deputy Ryane Ammons in his report.

“Upon arrival, I noticed a silver Ford pickup in a field north of the roadway. The vehicle had crossed a ditch and broken through a fence. The vehicle came to a rest facing northwest against a tree. I looked through the driver’s window and noticed the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle slumped forward with his head resting on the steering wheel,” he reported.

Once Deputy Ammons opened the door, the man woke up and reportedly stated several times, “I don’t know how I got here.” The man said he was just driving when he woke up in the field.

The driver of the 2006 silver Ford pickup was identified by his driver’s license as Shaun Frederick Smith, 39, of Okeechobee.

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue (OCFR) arrived and assessed Smith for injuries who was then transported to Raulerson Hospital via ambulance.

The FHP report states that Mr. Smith’s 2006 Ford F-350 pickup was traveling a short distance behind Brown’s 2017 Nissan NV 200 S compact cargo van heading westbound on State Road 710.

“For reasons yet to be determined,” Mr. Smith’s vehicle struck the rear of Ms. Brown’s vehicle. Ms. Brown’s vehicle then veered off the road and overturned. Mr. Smith’s vehicle continued west and traveled off the northern shoulder, through a ditch and struck a barbed wire fence.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by Trooper Sergeant Raymond Stuhr, FHP crash investigator, and Trooper Corporal Justin Gitto, FHP homicide investigator.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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