Safety changes could follow Beaches Town Center crash

Troopers continue to investigate accident

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

Troopers returned Monday to the scene of an accident that happened late Friday evening near a popular area where Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach come together. 

People in the area of the Beaches Town Center are now saying safety measures need to be taken after the crash that sent three to the hospital, including the driver of a car that officers said was trying to get away from them. An officer was slightly injured but News4Jax was told tonight he is fine. 

Authorities said Willie Davis, 29, was fleeing from police in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo when he lost control, hit a Chevrolet  Traverse and spun before the Monte Carlo then collided with a Nissan Rogue. The impact caused the Rogue to hit a parked Acura TSX, which was pushed into a parked Ford Edge. 

Davis and the passenger in the Monte Carlo were taken to Memorial Hospital in critical condition, and the driver of the Rogue was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Many told News4Jax it could have been much worse but the weather was bad and not many people were on the street at the time. Kaitlin Williams, who works near the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and East Coast Drive where the accident occurred, said she sees often sees problems.

"I do think there needs to be some change," Williams told News4Jax on Monday. "Like I said, almost every day I see something crazy out there.

There have been other bizarre accidents in the area. A nearby Atlantic Beach boutique has been hit by a vehicle four times in four years. 

Neptune Beach Police Chief Richard Pike said in the last 10 years, there have been 33 crashes in the area and 10 people hurt. Those are just the crashes his department investigated and those numbers do not include Atlantic Beach police and at least two fatal accidents investigated by FHP. 

"We have to have a serious look at what can be changed," Pike said.

There are traffic calming devices that have worked in the area. For example, there's a curb that has seemingly been hit many times, but some said it has saved lives. 

Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown said the city they might consider some changes like lighted crosswalks.

"As the chief said, maybe we should discuss this and look and see if we should add more lights that flash, so we can certainly do that," Brown said. 

Brown said they would work with Atlantic Beach to come up with possible changes. 

"We work together with safety for pedestrians for parking and we make sure that there are patrols," she said. 

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