Hurricane Evacuee Killed in South Walton Crash

Walton County authorities have already identified the intersection of Highway 98 and County Road as one of the most dangerous roadways in the county.

But sadly, one of the Hurricane Katrina evacuees staying here in our area may not have been aware of the fact.

Twenty-two-year-old Tara Schmolke from Metarie, Louisiana was driving north on County Road 283 around 9:00 Friday morning. That's the road from Grayton Beach.

Florida Highway Patrol Troopers say she made a left turn at the intersection into the path of a construction crane being moved on the highway. Schmolke was killed instantly.

The truck driver from Montgomery, Alabama was not hurt.

Mrs. Schmolke and her family evacuated from Metarie early last week as Hurricane Katrina tore through Louisiana.

Troopers say her family was in the car behind her, and saw the crash happen.

This is the fourth fatality on that short stretch of U.S. 98 in the last three months.

The county has already approved traffic signals at the two dangerous intersections. One goes to Seagrove Beach and the other to Grayton Beach. The equipment has been ordered, but it will be a few weeks before the lights are operational.


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