2 killed in wrong-way crash on Butler Boulevard

Eyewitness shoots video of drive going wrong way before deadly collision

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two men are dead after a head-on collision on J. Turner Butler Boulevard late Sunday night.

State troopers said one of the drivers was going the wrong way on the highway. News4Jax has learned that driver, 27-year-old James Bibb of Snellville, Georgia, had two previous DUI arrests.

At least one eyewitness recorded video of Bibb going into on-coming traffic just before the crash, which happened about 11:40 p.m. near the Kernan Boulevard exit.

State troopers are still trying to figure out exactly what happened, but they believe that Bibb (pictured below in 2014 booking photo) got onto JTB at either the Interstate 95 interchange or the Belfort Road exit. He drove against traffic for several miles before the crash.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, Bibb was seen driving his 2005 Subaru Forester east in the westbound lanes before he crashed head-on into 50-year-old Philip Edward Dennis, who was driving down in the westbound lane in his 2006 Chevrolet.  

Lawrenceville Police Department arrested James Bibb for DUI in 2014.

Both men died at the scene.

All westbound lanes of JTB were closed at Kernan Boulevard for about five hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.

Jeff Orillaza and his girlfriend said they called 911 to report the wrong-way driver to police, but right when the dispatcher answered, the SUV slammed into the other vehicle, and they knew right away no one would survive the crash.

"His headlights were off, so I knew it was something bad, so I sped up, got next to them and tried to get his attention, and the guy just sat there and really didn't care about anything," Orillaza said. "He probably missed about seven to eight cars."

Orillaza said he kept up with Bibb, who was going at least 65 to 70 mph, and honked his horn at him, while Orillaza's girlfriend called 911. He said he saw Bibb swerving from lane to lane.

Orillaza said he only recorded a short bit of the SUV going the wrong way, because he and his girlfriend were scared. They wanted to catch up with the driver to stop him, but they also wanted to keep enough distance in case the vehicle flipped over the median and came their way. 

Troopers are still trying to figure out why Bibb was driving the wrong way on the highway, and they're using Orillaza's video as evidence.

"It gives us without fail which vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction. More importantly, the driving pattern just prior to the crash," FHP spokesman Sgt. Dylan Bryan said. "It was a very quick interaction between the two vehicles, and unfortunately, sometimes the drivers are unable to react."

Records show Bibb was arrested in Georgia in 2005, charged with driving under the influence and speeding. In 2014, he was charged with his second DUI.  

Now, investigators are doing blood tests to see if drugs or alcohol were a factor in this crash.

"From what I'm told at this point, we didn't have any active indicators at the scene, but again, we are not going to just discount that, we are going to confirm," Bryan said.

News4Jax hasn't been able to reach family members for either Dennis or Bibb for comment. Troopers said Bibb's family doesn't live in Florida, and Bibb was apparently in the area visiting a friend.