JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two people were seriously injured in a head-on crash Tuesday on Heckscher Drive on the city’s Northside, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said.
The crash was reported about 10:30 a.m. at Milton Drive and backed up traffic in the two lanes of Heckscher Drive.
It appeared two SUVs were involved in the collision, and JFRD said one of the vehicles caught fire. A firefighter could be seen using a hose to spray water on a black SUV.
“When we got ready to leave, we turned, was coming up this way, there was firetrucks, smoke coming, so we turned around,” said Dick Crabtree, who lives nearby.
Lanny Jarrell lives in the neighborhood along Milton Drive, a quiet, slow, neighborhood road that turns onto busy Heckscher Drive.
“It’s real bad, especially on the weekends,” Jarrell said.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said a lot of intersections where a busy road meets a quiet neighborhood can be dangerous.
“No one starts at 50, 60 mph when they’re coming out of an intersection. They have to build up to that, and that creates issues for drivers that are already at that 50-, 60-mph mark,” Jefferson said. “This leads to a lot of head-on collisions.”
One vehicle had caught fire— THEJFRD (@THEJFRD) May 18, 2021
Two patients have been transported from this wreck both with serious injuries.— THEJFRD (@THEJFRD) May 18, 2021
There have been several deadly crashes over the years on Heckscher Drive, which parallels the northern bank of the St. Johns River.
The most recent was in October when a 16-year-old girl and two brothers were killed in a crash.
In 2019, a 48-year-old Fernandina Beach man was killed in a head-on crash on the Browns Creek Bridge.
In 2016, a 46-year-old man was killed in a head-on crash.
In 2008, an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was killed when his patrol car was struck by a man accused of driving drunk.
Jefferson said he drives Heckscher Drive regularly and noted the layout of the road has remained the same throughout the years. He said drivers need to be cautious with only two lanes that are in opposing directions.
“It’s a narrow, long, two-lane road,” Jefferson said. “Sometimes drivers become impatient with the drivers in front of them and they want to go around them and pass them and sometimes they don’t have a short space to do that because of oncoming traffic.”
The Florida Department of Transportation sent News4Jax the following statement:
“Our hearts go out to those who were injured in the recent crash on Heckscher Drive (SR 105). As with all questions related to an incident that is under investigation, I would have to refer you to law enforcement.
“The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) routinely reviews crashes and other data on state roadways to improve safety. FDOT has studied the area in question and in 2017 extended the no passing zone near Milton Drive. Previous studies along the corridor found driver error to be the cause for crashes near Milton Drive.
“FDOT encourages drivers to always act responsibly on the roadway, follow the posted speed limit, never drive distracted or impaired and obey the laws of the road.”