Commuters concerned after deadly Arlington crash

Firefighter killed in Arlington Expressway crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fiery crash that killed an off-duty firefighter on the Arlington Expressway late Tuesday prompted News4Jax to investigate criticisms from frequent commuters that the highway is dangerous.

The crash that killed 43-year-old Chris Swary was horrific and tied up traffic overnight on the expressway for about four hours.

Troopers said Swary's SUV crashed into a JEA truck as workers were removing cones from the right-hand lane, and he couldn’t stop in time.

Regular commuters said they weren't surprised the crash happened.

“No one really goes the speed limit (there),” driver Raven Gomillion said. “I think it’s dangerous because they should put some special lights or another crossover, especially down that way.”

Commuters said a combination of speeding, drivers not paying attention when they merge and rolling hills that limit long-range visibility create an accident-prone highway.

“A lot of them don’t look behind them and see who’s coming out. They just come out,” driver Stephanie Brown said.

But Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Ron Tittle said despite the criticisms -- and Tuesday's deadly crash -- the expressway doesn't appear to experience a high number of crashes.

“We’ll gather information from law enforcement, but from what I understand it had nothing to do with the expressway system itself,” Tittle said of Swary's crsah. “There’s no statistics to say that it would be a heavy crash area.”

Tittle added that there aren’t any construction plans for improving Arlington Expressway any time soon, saying the road is, as far as DOT knows, running fine.

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