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Mother mourns 'miracle baby' son after couple killed on US 301

Pedestrians hit twice in Bradford County, troopers say

BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. – A man and woman were killed Monday night while walking on US 301 near the Alachua-Bradford County line, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the crash, which killed Micah Phoenix, 37, and Yomadith Rodriguez Matos, 32, occurred shortly after 11 p.m. on 301 near Southwest 89th Street in Bradford County.

Phoenix's mother, Christina Johnson, told News4Jax that the family was watching TV when the couple decided to go for a walk. They never came back.

Johnson said an officer knocked on her door at 3 a.m. with the news that her son and his girlfriend had been killed.

Troopers said Phoenix and Rodriguez Matos were walking down the southbound lanes of US 301 -- one in the right lane and the other in the left -- when they were hit by two different cars at the same time.

After they were hit, a semi-truck driver was unable to stop before also hitting them, according to investigators. 

All three drivers stopped and remained on the scene. None of the drivers were injured and alcohol was not a factor, troopers said. The drivers said they didn't see the couple walking in the dark.

The area is a 65 mph zone.

Rodriguez Matos and Phoenix died at the scene of the crash, which was just 2 miles from his home.

Family said the two had been dating for about a month, and Rodriguez Matos' brother told News4Jax she leaves behind three daughters, ages 12, 10 and 8. Family said the children live out-of-state with their father.

Phoenix's mother said he worked as a surveyor and that he was living with her to help her pay her bills after she injured her back.

She called Phoenix her miracle baby, saying she'd tried for 12 years before finally getting pregnant with him.

"I don’t think I let him touch the ground until he was 5. I just carried him around. And kissed him all the time," Johnson said. "When they live with you, you know all the ins and outs. You know who’s walking down the hall. I’m just going to miss him a whole bunch."

Johnson said she's holding tight to her faith and her belief that she will see her son again in heaven.

"We all have Jesus as our savior, and we know where we are going," she said. "It's just the waiting now."


About the Author:

Ashley Spicer

Lifetime Floridian anchors weekends and reports weekdays on issues in Nassau and Baker counties and beyond.