Fort Myers residents killed in Sarasota County wreck

Published: Updated:
Nate Perkins, 23, of Fort Myers / Photo via Gulf Coast Humane Society

NORTH PORT, Fla. He was “exceptional,” “a light” and “a good man.”

That’s how those who knew Fort Myers resident Nate Perkins remembered him in the hours after he was killed Sunday morning in a crash near mile marker 177 on Interstate 75.

Fort Myers resident Johneisha Gadson, 22, also died in the wreck that temporarily shut all southbound lanes. Sharnice Brown, 23, of Fort Myers, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Gadson and Brown were passengers in Perkins’ 2016 Nissan Murano, which collided with a semi-trailer truck, the FHP said. The driver of the truck, an unidentified 51-year-old Haines City man, was also killed.

A third vehicle carrying Port Charlotte residents Hunter Harris, 21, Austin Dedrick, 21, and Anthony Dejesus, age unknown, was also involved, according to the FHP. The trio suffered minor injuries.

Nate Perkins, 23, of Fort Myers (Photo via Gulf Coast Humane Society)

Perkins was a graduate of Florida SouthWestern State College and worked both with the Gulf Coast Humane Society and as a third-grade teacher at James Stephens International Academy.

“Certified, bona fide, however you want to put it, he was a good man,” humane society co-worker James Auckey said.

Perkins worked at the humane society for five years and was Employee of the Month in August 2016, director Jennifer Galloway said.

“Just a really huge heart and just an exceptional young man,” Galloway said. “He had a gift that you don’t see very often.”

The humane society closed Sunday as employees gathered there to mourn one of their own.

“He became such a light here at the shelter,” co-worker Dirk Purdy said.

Perkins also aspired to start a school in Dunbar, as he discussed in a graduation speech at FSW.

“We’re young. The world is full of possibilities for every one of us. Don’t second-guess yourself,” Perkins told his fellow students in the speech.

The FHP continues to investigate the crash.

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