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Couple killed only 2 miles from home

By JONATHAN ABEL
Published February 21, 2007


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ARIPEKA - Two people died Monday night in Aripeka when their sport utility vehicle ran off the road and struck a tree.

The crash happened at 9:40 p.m. on a dark, winding stretch of Osowaw Boulevard near Fiddler Avenue, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Michael E. Powers, the 53-year-old driver, died at the scene. His girlfriend, 53, also died.

The woman's name has not been released Tuesday evening because her family had not been contacted.

The couple had lived in a small, white trailer at the Chief Aripeka camper park for the last five or six months.

"Everybody liked him," said neighbor Ray Jones.

Jones said that Powers used to give him rides to the store and help him out when he could. Powers had worked on small motors back in Virginia where he used to live, Jones said.

He had a brother and an elderly mother who both lived in New Port Richey.

Jones thought Powers' girlfriend was from Oklahoma.

When the crash happened, Powers was headed east on Osowaw Boulevard in the direction of the camper park. He was less than 2 miles from home.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows his driver's license was suspended.

The accident was still under investigation.

Spokesman Larry Coggins Jr said the Highway Patrol would not draw blood because there was no one to charge. An autopsy, he said, would reveal whether the driver had drugs or alcohol in his system.

Researcher Catherine Wos contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or 352 754-6114.

[Last modified February 20, 2007, 21:28:45]


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