Police: 3 crash leaving scene of minor accident

All 3 men hospitalized with life-threatening injuries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three men suffered life-threatening injuries after fleeing the scene of an accident and eventually crashing into a light pole, according to Jacksonville police.

The crash happened in the 1700 block of Old Middleburg Road, near Memorial Park Road, about 9:30 a.m., closing the road for nearly six hours.

Police said the car with three men hit another car at Lane and Lenox avenues, and the driver of the car that was hit got out to talk to them. Instead, the three men took off and sped down Old Middleburg Road, where the driver lost control. The car went up onto the sidewalk, eventually hitting a light pole.

The side of the car was sheared off. The three men were taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A mailman passing through the area during his route said he saw the scene just after the accident and was still upset hours later by what he saw.

"After my last delivery before the accident, I didn't see the accident, I saw a tire coming in the road and then I looked over and I saw this vehicle crash and I pulled my vehicle off the street, locked it up and came out," Peter Willis said. "There were three individuals on the ground. One was bleeding, another one had gotten up, the driver, to see how his friends were, I guess, and then he collapsed."

Willis said he thought about the three men all day because he has two daughters near the same age.

"I wanted to revisit and see what was going on there," Willis said. "I just can't get it out of my head. It's hard to explain."

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said if you're involved in a hit-and-run accident, you should never try to catch the person.

"Whenever you're involved in an accident, you want to get out and, if you can, you want to write down the tag number," Smith said. "That way if they do take off, you have their information. Witnesses should do the same thing. Get a good description of the people in the vehicle, get a good description of the vehicle if you can and try to get a tag number."

Smith said the driver of the car could face a minimum of four years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident. He said investigators will figure out if the other two will be charged with anything.

This is just one of several hit-and-runs this year in Jacksonville. Keeston Canup, who works nearby, thinks the decision to leave a crash is selfish.

"The possible chance of not having insurance, don't want to take no fault, don't want to land in jail, don't want to take no responsibilities," he said, "it's sad that someone's life could possibly be taken, because no one wants to take the responsibility for the damage or the death, hurt, injuries, etc."