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Ladder likely cause of fatal crash on I-95

All northbound lanes reopened eight hours after crash

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Northbound traffic on Interstate 95 was at a near standstill for eight hours after a crash Thursday afternoon near the St. Johns County/Duval County line that caused a fatality and injured another person.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a pickup truck pulling a camper flipped, pinning 59-year-old Stavros Dalambakis, in the truck just before the rest area in northern St. Johns County. A helicopter was called to airlift Dalambakis, but he died before he could be transported.

His wife, 60-year-old Jacqueline Dalambakis,  was released from Baptist South Friday after being treated for her injuries. The couple's dog, who was also in the cab of the pickup, was not hurt.

The couple was from New York.

"(In) each one of these cars, there's a family," said Casey Leidon, supervisor of the rest area just beyond the crash.  "If there's any kind of a flat tire or somebody swerves a little bit, everybody is so compact and there's no room for error."

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News4Jax was told that a unsecured ladder that came off a vehicle in front of the pickup likely caused the crash.

"Securing your load is very important, especially on our highways," said FHP Sgt. Dylan Byran. "Even more so on the interstates because you have increased speeds and increased winds are involved."

All northbound traffic was detoured onto County Road 210 after the crash that occurred before 1 p.m. Troopers reopened one northbound lane just before 3 p.m. The accident wasn't cleared and all northbound lanes reopened until about 8:30 p.m.

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This was the second fatal crash on I-95 in St. Johns County on Thursday. According to the FHP, a Toyota Camry southbound between International Golf Parkway and C.R. 210 left the road about 4:40 a.m., went down an embankment and struck a tree.  

The driver died at the scene. His name had not been released by late afternoon.