JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man was killed and two women were seriously injured early Saturday morning in a wrong-way crash involving two cars and a tractor-trailer on I-295 near Beach Boulevard.
The crash caused all southbound lanes of the highway to be shut down for more than 17 hours while troopers investigated. Crews worked throughout the day to remove the overturned tractor-trailer. Traffic on the opposite side of the highway was congested by onlookers as well.
Southbound lanes reopened at 8 p.m.
FHP: Man dead, 2 women seriously injured in wrong-way crash on I-295 at Beach Blvd around 3 a.m. Southbound I-295 still closed. At 6, I speak with a woman who says she helped get one of the injured women out of this tanker that flipped off the highway. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/drsV84DgEI— Marilyn Parker (@MarilynParkerTV) March 13, 2021
The Florida Highway Patrol said a silver Hyundai sedan was driving the wrong way on the southbound side of I-295 about 3:11 a.m. when the driver crashed head-on into a BMW sedan.
The impact spun the BMW into the guardrail and then it ricocheted into a semi-truck, sending both the BMW and the semi careening down an embankment. The semi, hauling a tanker, overturned and crashed into a tree.
The 23-year-old man driving the BMW was not wearing a seat belt and suffered fatal injuries, troopers said.
The Hyundai ended up on top of the guardrail.
Troopers said the 22-year-old woman driving the Hyundai, who is listed as being from Corpus Christi, Texas, and a 48-year-old woman driving the semi were both wearing seat belts. They suffered serious injuries.
A woman told News4Jax she was headed to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break when she saw the broken guardrail and pulled over to try to help.
She said she and two men were able to pull the semi driver from the overturned cab, but it was too late to help the driver of the BMW.
“The first thing I did was I went up to the window and I put my head up to the window and I looked her in the face, and I said I’m going to get you out. As soon as I did that, I went looking around and I don’t even know where this PVC pipe came from, but I started beating on the window with the PVC pipe,” Ryleigh Rhodes said.
She said she smelled gas, and she and another man were able to pull the woman out.
“One other gentleman came down and helped me bust the back window out and then another gentleman came down and we all carried her out,” Rhodes said.
Thankful for their help, the daughter of the semi-truck driver said her mother is home resting but is “heartbroken” and “immensely distraught.”
Rhodes said after securing the woman, they went to check on the driver of the BMW.
“He didn’t have a pulse. So I was there and I was trying to conquer him. But I knew that there was nothing left,” Rhodes said.
The FHP said this is an ongoing investigation.
News4Jax records show in the last eight months, six people have died in wrong-way crashes in our area.