ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The driver of a tractor was killed in a crash Monday involving a milk truck on Race Track Road, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said about 12:15 p.m. that Race Track Road at Bishop Estates Road was expected to be closed for hours after the crash. Westbound Race Track Road reopened about 3:30 p.m., and soon after, the eastbound lanes reopened.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the tractor and the milk truck were both traveling westbound when, for unknown reasons, the milk truck struck the tractor from behind. Deputies said the tractor tipped over, and the driver died.
“This older lady was giving him CPR, and everybody was on the phone calling. Like, I’m just getting chills talking about it right now,” said witness Joanna Hembree. “I started praying for him immediately. I’m not even a person that goes to church all the time, but I just thought it, like, was the right thing to do. Get shaken up just talking about it.”
After the collision with the tractor, the milk truck traveled over the center median into oncoming traffic, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Along the way, the milk truck hit a tree, which fell and crushed the engine area of its cab, deputies said.
That driver was alert and was not seriously injured, the Sheriff’s Office said.
TRAFFIC ALERT/UPDATE: Racetrack Road at Bishop Estates Road is closed due to a vehicle crash and will be for approximately 4-6 hours. This crash is now involving a fatality. pic.twitter.com/rgeuwJx62f— SJSO (@SJSOPIO) July 6, 2020
Drivers were asked to find an alternate route if they needed to travel in the area. The crash happened directly in front of Fruit Cove Middle School, and traffic was being rerouted slowly around the school.
Deputies continue to investigate.
“We’re going to have to look at exactly where the tractor was, where the point of impact is from where the final resting place of the vehicles are. But, certainly, the milk truck did strike the tractor from behind, so we’ll have to see if there are any mitigating circumstances. But generally speaking, a rear-end collision would generally go to the fault of the individual behind,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chuck Mulligan.