JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A pedestrian was struck and killed in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Philips Highway early Tuesday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The FHP said 26-year-old James Carter (pictured, right), of Jacksonville, was standing in the outside travel lane of I-95 southbound just before 2 a.m. when he was struck by a Buick LeSabre driven by Brandon Young, 27, of Orange Park.
The car pulled over and waited for police and rescue personnel, who pronounced Carter dead at the scene.
Vanessa Jones, Carter's mother, said she's torn up over the loss of her son. She said he had a disability and was struggling with anxiety after his cousin was killed in a crash. Jones said Carter would walk to help with his anxiety.
"He said he got to walk, he got to walk. And when he walk he feels better. Now he can't walk no more, he's gone," Jones said.
Jones said her son had sought mental health treatment and went to many different clinics asking for help, but no one would admit him. She said doctors thought he was fine.
Tuesday morning, she called those doctors to tell them what happened to her son.
"I told y'all about the anxiety he was having and all that walking, walking, walking. Now he's dead. He got hit by a car," Jones said of what she told the doctors.
Jones said she pleaded with the facilities to keep her son so he could get treated for what he was dealing with, but they continued to release him, sending him back home. He had been getting treatment this weekend and was again let go.
Jones said that Monday night Carter was having issues again and left their house on the Westside to walk it off. Hours later, he died, nearly 20 miles away from home.
"It cost him his life, but the mental health place, they could have saved him. They could have kept him there, evaluated him and gave him some medication," Carter's aunt, Cheryl Wilson, said.
Carter's family says doctors could have done more. Instead they continued to let him go when he needed extra help.
"Thats what they told me, it was nothing wrong with him and he don't meet the criteria," Jones said. "That's what they keep hearing from y'all: 'He don't meet the criteria.'"
One southbound lane of I-95 was closed for about three hours while troopers investigated. The other two lanes remained open.
According to the FHP report, charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.