Teen critically injured in Normandy Blvd. crash

FHP: 13-year-old was not wearing seat belt, has life-threatening injuries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 13-year-old girl who was not wearing a seat belt was critically injured when a truck cut in front of the car she was riding in on Normandy Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Shamuja Brathwaite was taken to UF Health with life-threatening injuries. Another passenger, 12-year-old Tatiana Brathwaite, was taken to UF Health with minor injuries. Neither girl was wearing a seat belt, according to the FHP report.

Neighbors told News4Jax that the two girls are sisters.

The driver, 35-year-old Shawnta Pride Brathwaite, could be cited, because seat belts are required for passengers under 18. Shawnta Brathwaite, who was wearing a seat belt, also suffered minor injuries and was taken to UF Health.

The FHP report said charges are pending against the truck's driver, 43-year-old Darrell Roberson, who was not injured. According to the report, Roberson was in the right turn lane on Normandy Boulevard at McGirts Point Boulevard when he changed lanes in front of Shawnta Brathwaite's Acura, which crashed into the back of the truck. Roberson could be cited for improper lane change.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said drivers should be careful when they change lanes.

"You just want to make sure you're a safe distance in front of the vehicle that you're turning in front of," Smith said. "Use your turn signal, give it a few seconds and change lanes."

Smith also said drivers are responsible for making sure children riding in their cars wear seat belts.

Adults in the driver and front passenger seats are also required to wear seat belts. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is more than $100.

Smith said if parents have trouble convincing their child to wear a seat belt, they should tell them that it's the law, and they should even consider showing their children accident pictures, so they know how dangerous it is to not wear a seat belt.

Eastbound traffic on Normandy Boulevard was rerouted to New World Avenue after the 7:10 a.m. crash, and it was after 11 a.m. that all lanes reopened.