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Local coach dies in fatal vehicle crash in downtown Inverness

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Thursday morning crash closes down east and westbound lanes of State Road 44 for several hours

By Buster Thompson

INVERNESS -- A local coach died after being involved in a traffic crash Thursday morning in downtown Inverness.

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According to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, two vehicles collided at the intersection of State Road 44 (West Main Street) and Seminole Avenue. 

At least one person was trapped inside their vehicle, and at least person died, according to the sheriff's office. 

Dana James, head of the Seven Rivers Christian School in Lecanto, confirmed in an email that Coach Steve Ekeli, the school’s athletic complex manager, died in the crash during his commute to work.

 “We are all shocked and devastated. There are few words at this point,” James said. “We hurt. We’ll cry. We’ll pray. We’ll trust. We’ll comfort.”

Police shut down east and westbound lanes of S.R. 44, forcing traffic to be rerouted down side streets for several hours until lanes opened up around 10 a.m.

Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the fatal crash and will release additional details. Check back later for more updates.

See more in Friday’s Chronicle.