Recent Villages High School graduate killed in three-vehicle crash in Ocala

Villages High School graduate Dusty Ray Rhoads Jr., left, was killed early Friday morning in a three-vehicle crash in Ocala. The 18-year-old graduated from VHS in May.

A recent Villages High School graduate was killed early Friday morning in a three-vehicle crash in Ocala.

Dusty Ray Rhoads Jr., 18, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 1:26 a.m. crash at E State Road 40 and NE 25th Avenue. The 2019 graduate of VHS had been driving a red Hyundai and was killed when his vehicle flipped and wrapped around a telephone pole.

Officers from the Ocala Police Department and crews from Ocala Fire Rescue responded to the crash, which also involved a white Ford Fusion that was flipped onto its roof and a blue Ford Mustang that was sitting upright in a nearby grassy area.

The passenger in the Ford Fusion was ejected during the crash and required immediate medical attention, while the driver was trauma alerted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The Mustang’s driver also was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the crash could have been the result of excessive speed through the intersection. Ocala Police traffic homicide investigators are working the incident and any criminal violations have yet to be determined.

Units from Marion County Fire Rescue and troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol also responded to the crash.

Rhoads is the second 2019 VHS graduate to die in a vehicle crash. Football standout Joseph Machado, 18, was killed in a single-vehicle crash in May in Lake County just six days after graduation ceremonies were held. That crash occurred after 18-year-old driver Phillip Leslie lost control of his 1998 Toyota Camry while traveling east on CR 48 and slammed into a tree. Leslie, of Yalaha, also died in the crash, which occurred near the intersection of Rumford Road, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.