JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was a deadly Saturday morning on Duval County roadways, as three people were killed in two separate crashes.
The first was a wrong-way crash that killed two people on Interstate 95 northbound in the San Marco area just after 2 a.m. The crash shut the highway down in the area for more than four hours. The other crash was a deadly hit and run crash on Atlantic Blvd at Acme St involving a pedestrian.
A witness said he saw the pedestrian get hit on Atlantic Boulevard, and that it seemed like everything was happening in slow motion. He said he saw Fransico Antunez walking across the street and was hoping he would speed up as two cars were approaching. The witness said the driver in the right lane seemed to not see the pedestrian until it was too late. He added that he saw the driver slow down briefly before fleeing the scene.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said police will try to take any evidence from the scene, like pieces of headlights, or the car, and determine what type of car it was to give people a better idea of what to be looking for. They will also check surveillance video, if there is any in the area.
“The witness in this case did everything right,” Smith said. “He saw the accident and saw the person was leaving the scene and went to try to get a better description, color, make, model of the car, and hopefully a tag number.”
The witness came back just before 9 a.m. to place flowers where the crash happened. He said that once that driver fled, he chased after him while calling police, but lost sight of the white sedan when the fleeing driver began running red lights.
“Even if they can get part of the paint to give them a better description of the color of the car, that would be useful,” Smith said.
In the crash on I-95, Florida Highway Patrol investigators say that 40-year-old Levi Walter, of Washington, was driving the wrong way, southbound in the northbound lanes just south of the Main Street Bridge exit. Walter crashed head-on into a van driven by 41-year-old Robert Upson, of Jacksonville. Both cars were nearly unrecognizable at the scene as they were loaded onto tow trucks.
“Right now, they don't know if alcohol is involved, but sometimes people just turn the wrong way and go in the wrong direction on an on-ramp, believing they are going to the proper direction,” Smith said. “Sometimes alcohol is involved, so that will be part of the investigation to see if the person was under the influence.”