MARY ESTHER — Officials are continuing to investigate the U.S. Highway 98 crash Thursday afternoon that killed two people from Bradenton.

Florida Highway Patrol reported that Kurt and Pamela Graetzer, who died as a result of their injuries from the crash,  were sitting in traffic in their 2008 Honda Element near the intersection of Cody Avenue around 1:25 p.m. when a box truck hit them from behind.

The 66-year-old man and 63-year-old woman were wearing seat belts.


The force of the impact sent the Graetzer’s vehicle into 54-year-old Gulf Breeze resident Stephen Williams’ 2000 Ford F-150. Williams’ vehicle rotated counterclockwise and hit the rear of 44-year-old Navarre resident James Calbert Jr.’s 1997 Buick Lesabre.

The Buick was propelled forward and hit 33-year-old Navarre resident Clifford Holmes’ 2003 Ford F-150.

The 28-foot McAleer’s Office box truck continued moving forward and hit Williams’ and Calbert’s vehicles.

The left side of another vehicle, 48-year-old Fort Walton Beach resident Carolyn McNew’s 2004 GMC pickup truck and attached trailer, also was hit during the crash as well as 37-year-old North Richland Hills, Texas, resident Kristi Callana’s 2011 Nissan Murano that was hit with debris from the wreck.

Endersen and his passenger, 32-year-old Desi Johnson of Cantonment, as well as Williams, Holmes and his passenger, 32-year-old Navarre resident David Powell, were taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center for minor injuries.

Calbert also suffered minor injuries but was not transported.

The wreck caused an estimated $36,000 in damages to the vehicles involved, according to FHP.

The crash shut down U.S. Highway 98 traffic for nearly five hours.

Charges stemming from the wreck are pending further investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.

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