JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The brother of a former JTA worker who died Wednesday evening in a two-vehicle accident in Northwest Jacksonville said his sister was the one who kept everything together in his family.
Police said Betty Jewel Jones, 76, was a passenger in a car that was struck by another vehicle on New Kings Road about 7:30 p.m.
Ernest Dixon Sr. said his sister and her husband, Henry Jones, were leaving a Dollar Tree at New Kings Road and Soutel Drive when they were T-boned.
Police said the vehicle that struck the Joneses' car was southbound on New Kings Road and the driver tried to turn left onto Soutel Drive.
Betty Jones died at the hospital.
"We really would like to know more," Dixon said. "We don't know too much of anything outside of a T-bone, and it hit where she was sitting, and she didn't make it."
Henry Jones was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, and the driver of the other car was not injured, police said.
Dixon said his sister had two sons.
"She was a very well-liked person around the neighborhood," Dixon said, choking back tears. "It just won't be the same. It's not going to be the same without her."
Betty Jones retired in 2015 after 19 years with JTA.
“All of us at the JTA are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our former co-worker, Betty Jewel Jones," JTA officials said in a news release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this most difficult time.”
Traffic homicide detectives continue to investigate the crash.
Activists push for road improvements
New Kings Road has recently been a hot topic as local activists push for changes in infrastructure after several deadly crashes, some involving pedestrians.
“What we need here is action,” said Ben Frazier, founder of the Northside Coalition. “We feel that it's time for the Florida Department of Transportation to get to work. They need to cut the ribbon. They need to break ground. They need to get this construction party started.”
Details were released earlier this week of a $10 million traffic and pedestrian safety program for a 5-mile stretch of New Kings Road that has been dubbed the "Danger Zone."
Frazier said the plan, a byproduct of Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown, residents' concerns and the Florida Department of Transportation, “will have a significant impact on safety and the quality of life for Northside residents.”
The state’s new plans for New Kings Road include:
- $7 million for resurfacing the entire length of New Kings Road (State Road 15 from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to Wagner Road near I-295)
- More than $3 million for sidewalks and street lighting east and west of the road
- Other traffic engineering measures for pedestrian safety are also under consideration
The project is scheduled to begin in April 2018 and is scheduled for completion in December 2019.