GAINESVILLE – Raiford prison authorities Thursday confirmed one of three persons killed in an auto accident near Jacksonville Wednesday night [June 16, 1971] was an escaped trusty from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Gainesville.
Authorities said John Douglas Mathews, 36, also known as Richard Douglas Morgan, of Gainesville, had walked away from the hospital Wednesday afternoon accompanied by his wife and an Orlando man.
Late Wednesday night, a small car carrying the three crashed head-on with another vehicle while traveling in the wrong direction on Beach Boulevard, just west of Jacksonville Beach.
Traveling with Morgan was his wife, Agnes Morgan Mathews, 40, of Gainesville, and Paul H. Holmes, 51, formerly of Orlando and recently a patient at the veterans hospital.
Mathews, who had been serving two years for breaking and entering and forgery, had been transferred to the hospital from the Union County farm unit a week ago for treatment of a respiratory ailment.