PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A 16-year-old boy died after he was struck by a pickup truck early Wednesday morning on State Road A1A near Micker's Landing, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers said Zander Laurin, of Ponte Vedra Beach, was jogging in the southbound bicycle lane of A1A just before 6 a.m. when he was hit by a Toyota Tundra that drifted out of its lane and struck the boy from behind. But the teen's mother told News4Jax that her son was not in the bicycle lane, he was running on the sidewalk at the time he was hit.
Laurin was airlifted to UF Health Jacksonville, where his mother said he passed away Wednesday afternoon. She said he was an organ donor and those wishes were honored.
She said Laurin was a petty officer in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. He went through tough field operation training in Iowa this summer and he was running in preparation to pass the entry physical readiness testing.
She said her son had wanted to serve in the military since he was old enough to walk and talk. Not many teenagers have a life plan, but he had one since elementary school.
The St. Johns County School District confirmed Laurin was a sophomore at Ponte Vedra High School, where members of a crisis team were on campus to support students and staff Wednesday.
Evidence of the crash could be seen on the sidewalk near Gnarled Oaks Drive outside The Grove neighborhood in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Susie Dominiak was out walking her neighbor’s dogs early Wednesday morning when she heard the crash happen.
"When I got to the end of the street, I saw that a truck on the right-hand side had its flashers going,” Dominiak said. “About five police cars pulled up and that’s when I realized that something or someone was hit and hurt.”
People who live nearby where the crash happened told News4Jax that stretch of A1A is dangerous because the sidewalk is right alongside the roadway and many drivers exceed the 45 mph speed limit.
Neighbors said they would like to see changes made to make walking and biking safer for people in the area.
According to the Highway Patrol, the driver of the pickup, Keith Jones, 53, of Jacksonville Beach, remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.