Gators walk-on, passenger killed in motorcycle crash

Updated: October 13, 2007, 3:01 AM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A walk-on defensive back for the Florida Gators was killed early Friday when the motorcycle he was driving hit a median at a high rate of speed, police said.

Michael Guilford, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman from Quincy, was not wearing a helmet. Neither was passenger Ashley Slonina, a Florida junior from Lynn Haven who also died in the crash.

The two were riding a 1998 silver Kawasaki motorcycle when it struck a median near campus around 1 a.m., police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said. Kameg said officers estimated the motorcycle was traveling 25 to 30 mph over the speed limit.

Police were awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports and investigating a report that the students had been at a gathering at a nearby apartment complex before the crash, Kameg said.

Crisis counselors were available to meet with students who knew Guilford and Slonina.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Michael Guilford," coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. "He was an outstanding, quality young man that was loved, respected and admired by all of us. His unselfish efforts on helping his teammates getting ready to play every week were only a glimpse of the person he was.

"Our condolences and blessings also go to the family and friends of Ashley Slonina, who also passed away in this sad and tragic accident.''

Guilford, nicknamed "Sunshine" because his long blonde hair resembled that of Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass in the football movie "Remember the Titans," was named one of the scout team players of the week following Florida's win over Mississippi earlier this season.

Guilford also mimicked Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith during preparation for the Bowl Championship Series national title game in January.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press