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The Villages
Saturday, June 12, 2021

81-year-old Villager dies as result of crash at notorious intersection

An 81-year-old Villager has died as a result of a horrific crash last week at a notorious intersection on U.S. 301.

Catherine Lou Barnard, of the Village of Charlotte, died Friday in the intensive care unit at Ocala Regional Medical Center after being flown there by helicopter in the wake of the crash which occurred at about noon May 25 at the intersection of U.S. 301 and County Road 472.

She had been a passenger in a gray 2017 Honda CRV driven by her husband, 87-year-old Cornelius Barnard.

Villagers Cornelius and Catherine Barnard were extricated from this vehicle after the crash
Villagers Cornelius and Catherine Barnard were extricated from this vehicle after the crash.

A homicide traffic investigator was not initially called to the scene of the three-vehicle crash because Sumter County Fire Rescue indicated there were no fatalities.

However, Catherine Barnard underwent several surgeries due to injuries suffered in the crash. Cornelius Barnard was seriously injured but is expected to recover.

Initial witness statements apparently provided inaccurate information, according to the accident report from the Wildwood Police Department. An officer later went to the Circle K service station at the intersection and obtained video surveillance footage that showed the Barnards had been traveling south on U.S. 301 and making a left turn onto County Road 472 when their vehicle failed to yield to a northbound white 2020 Volkswagen Jetta driven by 17-year-old Hunter Allen Beauchemin of Fruitland Park. The report noted that Beauchemin’s vehicle had been traveling “at a high rate of speed.” As a result of the impact, the Barnards’ vehicle spun 180 degrees and struck the front bumper of a white 2019 Acura MDX driven by 73-year-old John David Maynard of The Villages which had been stopped at the intersection. After colliding with the Barnards’ vehicle, Beauchemin’s vehicle slid into a ditch in front of the Circle K.

Hunter Beauchemin 17 had been at the wheel of this white Volkswagen Jetta which had been traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash.
Hunter Beauchemin, 17, was at the wheel of this white Volkswagen Jetta which had been traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash.

The ultimate conclusion of the investigator was that Cornelius Barnard was at fault because he had failed to yield the right of way.

The intersection where the crash occurred is notorious for collisions:

• A memorial still stands at the intersection in memory of two teens killed in a crash this past October.

A motorcyclist suffered a broken leg in a collision at that intersection in 2016.

Several people, including Villagers, were seriously injured in a crash at the same intersection in 2015.

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