One man is still in critical condition and friends and family are mourning the loss of two others from South Carolina who were killed in an accident caused by a woman fleeing from Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies in a deputy’s stolen vehicle.
Richard Earl Middleton and Diane Lynn Held were killed in a fatal car accident on February 1. The two had been riding in a pickup truck that was struck head-on by the stolen vehicle, which was being driven by 33-year-old Kendra Dayln Boone of Silver Springs.
According to MCSO, Boone traveled onto the right shoulder of East Highway 40 in an attempt to pass a semi-truck while she was fleeing from law enforcement authorities.
As she re-entered the roadway, Boone lost control of the patrol vehicle, veered into the oncoming lane, and collided head-on with the pickup truck.
Both Rick, 73, and Diane, 72, were pronounced deceased at the scene.
Rick’s brother, Russell Middleton, was transported to HCA Florida Ocala Hospital in critical condition.
Rick and Diane had been in Florida visiting Russell, who is still in the hospital.
Avid boaters, Rick and Diane developed countless friendships over the years through their love of lake life. Friends and family have taken to social media to share multiple memories of the two, who lived in Waterloo, South Carolina.
“They both loved the lake, fish fries, boating, Halloween parties, sand bar, sharing snacks on Greg’s boat and, of course, the one and only Peggy’s Pub on the Reddy river,” said Christy B. “I know God has you two now, but we will always keep your memories safe here till we see you two again.”
“I am thankful for the years we were given with them…They were the sweetest couple that loved life,” said Peggy D. “There is a definite hole in my heart, but I will always cherish the memories we made together.”
Rick also had a fondness for bowling, with multiple friends commenting on memories they shared with him during his time in Michigan.
One friend of Rick labeled the accident as “senseless,” and a granddaughter of Rick’s shared a statement condemning the actions that led to her grandfather’s death.
The accident that killed Rick and Diane took place just minutes after an MCSO deputy responded to Forest Plaza on E Highway 40 in reference to Boone allegedly attempting to take an elderly victim’s keys.
On that day, the deputy arrived on the scene at around 2 p.m., made contact with Boone, and instructed her to go to the back of his patrol vehicle.
As the deputy was walking around the back of the patrol vehicle, Boone entered the vehicle through the passenger door and climbed into the driver’s seat. After the deputy noticed, he immediately attempted to remove her from the vehicle, but was unsuccessful.
Another deputy responding to the area initiated a pursuit after seeing Boone speed from the scene.
According to MCSO, Boone fled eastbound on E Hwy 40 for several miles before making multiple U-turns.
During the pursuit, the vehicle reached speeds exceeding 100 mph, according to MCSO.
Boone eventually crashed into the family’s pickup truck in the 26000 block of E Hwy 40, less than five miles from the plaza.
Boone sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene. According to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, she was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.