Stabbed Corrections Officer Out Of Hospital
2 Corrections Officers Killed In Wreck Following Domestic Incident
LAKE BUTLER, Fla. – The female corrections officer that authorities said was stabbed by her ex-boyfriend Friday morning in Union County was released from the hospital over the weekend.
Minutes after the stabbing, the fleeing man -- 42-year-old Donald Bazzell -- slammed his pickup truck into a van carrying two other corrections officers, killing that driver and himself and injuring the van's passenger, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office.
Bazzell was also a corrections officer.
The events began when 26-year-old Rebecca Ocker was stabbed in the head, face and arms in a home on Southwest Seventh Street at about 10 a.m. Friday.
"My ex-boyfriend just stabbed the hell out of me. He stabbed me in my head, in my neck, in my chest and ? he was stabbing me with something," Ocker told the 911 operator. "You have to hurry, I'm bleeding all over the place."
Minutes after arriving at the stabbing scene, deputies learned that a pickup truck thought to have left the stabbing scene had crashed into a Department of Corrections van on county Road 231 about three miles from the home.
Bazzell and the driver of the DOC van, 32-year-old Adam Sanderson, died in the collision. Fred Jackson, 41, was a passenger in the DOC van. He was airlifted to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville with serious injuries.
Jackson and Ocker were both released from the hospital over the weekend.
Deputies described Bazzell as the boyfriend of Ocker.
Sheriff Jerry Whitehead told Channel 4 that the four people involved in both incidents were all employees of the Department of Corrections.
"For some reason the driver of the pickup truck crossed the center line and struck the van head-on. Both drivers died at the scene," said FHP Lt. Bill Leeper.
The sheriff said he suspects the crash was not an accident. He said a preliminary investigation showed Bazzell's pickup was traveling 88 mph when he struck the DOC van head-on. There was no indication that Bazzell tried to brake before striking the van.
"Certainly he was distraught, upset, emotional -- some of those things you have when there's a domestic situation with a weapon involved. Was he fleeing and accidentally or intentionally ? I just don't know," Whitehead said.
Investigators said the prison van was on its way back to the state reception and medical center. According to the sheriff, Sanderson and Jackson had just completed a training exercise.
"They had a mock escape this morning, and the individuals had been called back to the prison. They were proceeding down the road going back and this happened," Whitehead said.
"This is a tragic day for the department," said DOC spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger in a statement. "We are in the process of absorbing the shock and are praying for the victims' families."
Union County, where the stabbing and the crash took place, is the smallest county in the state, and prisons are vitally important to the tight-knit, rural community.
There are seven major correctional institutions in the area, making the prison system the largest employer in Union County.
Bazzell and Ocker both worked at Florida State Prison in neighboring Bradford County.
The officers in the DOC van work at the Reception And Medical Center in Union County.
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