2 die in overnight crash on I-295 near Blanding Boulevard

FHP says driver lost control; Ford Mustang ended up underneath big rig

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 28-year-old man from Green Cove Springs and a 29-year-old woman from St. Augustine died early Saturday morning in a crash on Interstate 295 just south of Blanding Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the two were driving south in a Ford Mustang on I-295 at about 2:20 a.m. and were passing a tractor-trailer when the driver of the car lost control and struck the big rig. Both vehicles left the road, and the Mustang ended up trapped underneath the tractor-trailer.

According to the FHP report, Justin Conn and Christina Ross died at the scene. Passenger Victor Williams, 29, was taken to Orange Park Medical Center with critical injuries.

The truck driver was not injured.

Neighbors of Conn, David and Deloris Bidwell, said they have known him his entire life, watching him grow up. They told News4Jax that they were devastated to hear the news. 

"I just think it’s a disaster and a half, because the night before, he was out, roller skating and skateboarding with his dog, pulling him up and down the road like he always done," Deloris Bidwell said.

"Not even 30 years old," David Bidwell said. "It’s a shame."  

Conn's family released the following statement:

Thank you for understanding that this is a very difficult time for our family and friends. Justin was very loved and full of life. His humor and the love for music he shared is just a portion of his Legacy. Justin just returned home a few weeks ago from months of hiking the Appalachian Trail, an adventure to compliment his years of hard work with Bartram Trail Surveying. Unfortunately, due to the fires in Tennessee the "Florida Boys" came home early with plans to finish the trail this spring. His sister, her children and I were so happy to have Justin home again and blessed for this time. I am so appreciative of the support from family, friends and co-workers know that with their love, we'll be able to keep his spirit alive.

PHOTO: Justin Ray Conn 

Friends of Ross have taken to social media, posting comments on her Facebook page like, "Rip Beautiful,” and, “Wow. I can’t believe that this has happened. I will never forget your laugh.”

According to the accident report, the blood-alcohol results on the occupants of the car are pending.

All southbound traffic on I-295 was blocked until after 7 a.m. while the accident was investigated and cleared.

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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.