Crews clear trees near stop sign after fatal crash

FHP says 1 killed, 1 critical after failed to stop at intersection

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Workers spent half an hour Friday morning clearing trees at an intersection after a fatal crash Thursday that residents blamed on a lack of visibility for a stop sign.

A man was killed and a woman was critically injured when the driver of a Chevrolet Malibu failed to stop at the intersection of Busch Drive and Gun Club Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said Katarina Porter, 23, of St. Marys, Georgia, ran a stop sign on Gun Club Road at 3:30 p.m. and hit the front end of a 2012 Dodge Journey driven by Jean Loreston, 49, of Jacksonville.

The collision caused both cars to turn clockwise and Loreston's Dodge traveled into the path of another vehicle, where it was struck again and became airborne, landing on top of the Malibu, according to the FHP.

Loreston was taken to UF Health Jacksonville, where he died. His passenger, Marie Loreston, 43, was also taken to UF Health with critical injuries.

Porter was not injured. According to the FHP report, charges are pending.

Troopers said the driver of a Chevrolet Silverado received a minor injury and was also treated at UF Health Jacksonville.

Residents in the area told News4Jax that Loreston likely didn't see the stop sign because of trees growing near it. Those palm fronds were cut back by crews Friday morning.

Nearby, McCoys Seafood sits on the corner of Zoo Parkway and Rota Road. The family-owned business has been in operation for 45 years and employees said there's been an increase in traffic traveling through the area. 

Nichole Smith, with McCoys Seafood, said Thursday's crash was devastating, but wrecks have become too common in the area. 

"It's pretty sad. If we could put lights up to prevent this, that would be a lot (of) help," Smith said. "Last year, we had a wreck out here, and when that plumbing car hit that car, we though it was going to come up through this shop."

Residents said they want to the city to put traffic lights in the area instead of stop signs. News4Jax has contacted FHP to see how many accidents were reported in the area in the last 10 years and reached out to the city for information about the complaints and any future plans. As of late Thursday afternoon, News4Jax had not yet heard back from either.