Early Afternoon Car Accident Leaves Prominent Businessman in Critical Condition

The patriarch of one of the Bay County's more prominent families is in the hospital Friday in critical condition.

84-year old Ralph Julian Bennett, Jr. was involved in a traffic crash about 12:30 Friday afternoon at the intersection of Middle Beach Road and Alf Coleman Road.

Panama City Beach Police say Bennett was driving the white Lincoln east on Middle Beach.

26-year old Natasha Turnage was heading south on Alf Coleman.

Both vehicles entered the intersection at the same time and collided.

Bennett's Lincoln then ran off the road and hit a utility pole.

Paramedics took him to Bay Medical Center, where he's being treated in the intensive are unit.

Turnage was not seriously hurt.

The crash is still under investigation.

Julian Bennett and his family have been long-time Panama City Beach residents. He's a lawyer and a business owner.

The Bennett's have owned several motels and condos, Sharky's Beach Club and Restaurant, and are currently developing the Seahaven community.

In January, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce presented Bennett with its Lauren Merriam Award for outstanding service to the business community over an entire lifetime.

We'll keep you updated on his progress.

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