JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man who overcame extraordinary odds after a car crash five years ago died Thursday night in another crash in Jacksonville.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver of an SUV that sideswiped a disabled truck about 8:30 p.m. on I-95 at West Eighth Street was thrown from the SUV, landed on its roof and died at a hospital.
Two people in the disabled truck that was in an emergency lane were not injured, troopers said.
Family members told News4Jax on Friday that the man killed in the crash was Austin Vestal, who was profiled by News4Jax after he overcame injuries from a 2012 wreck to participate in the 2013 Gate River Run.
That June 2012 crash landed Vestal in a coma for two weeks and left him with a traumatic brain injury. Doctors told him he’d likely never walk again.
But after almost nonstop training and perseverance, Vestal completed the 2013 race.
“It’s great to be a miracle. I’m glad it helps inspire people,” Vestal said in a 2013 interview. “I mean, if that’s why I’m here, to inspire people, then by all means, I’m glad it’s for that.”
Vestal's aunt said his family is reeling from their loss and hoping people remain inspired by Vestal's story of strength and determination.
She said Vestal's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Beaches Chapel on Florida Boulevard in Neptune Beach.
The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating what led to the crash.