2 killed in wrong-way crash in Hernando County

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 8:21 AM EDT

Two people were killed early Tuesday in a head-on crash that involved a wrong-way driver.

  • Crash happened about 1 a.m. on Cortez Boulevard
  • Sheriff's Office said Tony Warthen was driving in wrong direction
  • Both drivers killed at scene

The Florida Highway Patrol said Tony Lavon Warthen, 37, was driving west in the eastbound lane of Cortez Boulevard in Ridge Manor at about 1 a.m.

A deputy and the driver of a truck traveling in front of the deputy both swerved off the roadway to avoid a collision with Warthen.

The deputy called for help, and about a minute later the driver crashed head-on into another vehicle traveling east near the Ridge Manor Campground.

The driver of that vehicle was identified as Laura Billingsley, 23, of Webster.

Both drivers died at the scene, authorities said.

Cortez Boulevard was blocked off for hours in both directions from McKethan Road to Westwood Drive. It was reopened at 7:25 a.m.

FHP is still investigating.