Friends shocked over deadly Clay County crash

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – One man died and a passenger was seriously injured early Saturday morning when their SUV crashed into a tree outside of Green Cove Springs, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Investigators said Colby Haugen, 39, was driving north on Springbank Road about 3 a.m. when he failed to make a turn and ran off the road and hit a tree. The SUV overturned and landed on its roof.

Haugen died at the scene.

“We always had fun. I never once seen him mad. Colby was always pretty much laid back. (He) is a good guy,” says Ben Meeks, Haugen’s childhood friend.

The last time Meeks saw Haugen was about three months ago.

“I’ve never seen him happier,” remembers Meeks. “I’m really just shocked over it all.”

Meeks was very emotional when speaking with us.

“I’m sorry, very, very sorry that y’all lost him. And, Colby was a great guy. And, like I said, I’m just sorry,” said Meeks. 

The passenger, Gina Gustafson, 43, was taken to the Orange Park Medical Center. Gustafson was Haugen's girlfriend.

“She’s just really genuine, good hearted people. She would do anything for you. Basically, just a real sweetheart of a person,” said JJ Pennington, Gustafson's friend.

Florida Highway Patrol said alcohol was a factor in the crash and is continuing to investigate.

Springbank Road was closed while FHP worked to clear the scene. It has since reopened.