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Mayor stops to help after SUV, street sweeper collide

Woman says Mayor Curry tried to calm down her daughter after startling accident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry stopped to see if he could help Friday morning after an SUV and a street sweeper collided near his home.

The crash on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco near Northwood Road left the passenger side of the SUV caved in and a part of the front of the city sweeper truck lying in the road.

News4Jax was first alerted that Curry was at the scene by a concerned viewer who thought the mayor might have been involved in the crash. When we looked into it, we learned that Curry, who lives in the area, happened upon the aftermath of the crash and stopped to offer help and make sure everyone was OK.

Debbie Penland said Mikal Penland, her 22-year-old daughter whose SUV was involved in the wreck, was shaking and crying after the shocking moment.

“She was screaming, saying she’d been hit and hit really hard," Debbie Penland said.

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The mother said two people pulled over to help her daughter before she got there. One of the two was a man who Debbie Penland said immediately tried to console her daughter until she got there.

“He went over to her and asked her, 'Are you OK?' And then she said, 'Yeah.' But she was crying and shaking, so he just hugged her. He literally hugged her until she calmed down. Then he said, 'I’m not going to leave until the cops get here,'" Debbie Penland said. 

When Debbie Penland arrived, she immediately thanked the man. She then started to wonder if she recognized him.

“I did keep thinking, 'Gosh, I know this guy. He looks familiar,'" she said.

It turns out that man was mayor of Jacksonville. 

"He said, 'Well, I’m the mayor.' And I thought, 'OK. I'm an idiot,'" Debbie Penland said, laughing. 

She said she is grateful Curry took the time to help her daughter. 

“From the bottom of my heart, he doesn’t understand, for someone to come and literally just stay there, I don’t care who you are, to stay there and to make sure whoever is in the accident is going to be fine," the mother said. 

Debbie Penland said Curry even reached out to her later in the day, asking how her daughter was doing. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt. 

The mother added that she hopes other people in the community will stop to help others in need.

City spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton released a statement Friday afternoon:

"The mayor is happy those involved are safe. He saw it happen and wanted to be helpful so he (and others) stopped and waited for first responders. Then he came to City Hall to work."

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