JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 26-year-old man from St. Augustine was killed in a wrong-way crash early Friday morning on I-295 at Baymeadows Road that blocked all lanes for about five hours.
Troopers said a 42-year-old man was driving an SUV northbound in the left southbound lane of I-295 about 3:30 a.m. when he hit a van head-on.
The vehicles spun before stopping in the middle of the interstate.
The 42-year-old was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
The 26-year-old driver in the van died at the scene, according to FHP.
Both were wearing seat belts.
It’s unclear where the SUV got onto the interstate.
Troopers rerouted traffic onto Baymeadows Road until about 8:30 a.m. when all lanes on I-295 reopened.
FHP sent a statement about being notified about a different wrong-way driver Friday morning.
“In regards to the wrong way fatality this morning at 295 & Baymeadows Road, we did not get any calls or information to that call. However, ironically, we did receive a wrong-way driver advisory of a gray Subaru SUV traveling in the wrong direction at 95 and Baymeadows about an hour and a half prior to the fatal crash.”
Following the crash, FDOT leaders are again calling for wrong-way driver awareness. They said one tip is if you’re driving at night, stay right.
FDOT spokesperson Hampton Ray said whenever a crash like this occurs, FDOT does an in-depth analysis to see what can be done to improve the roadway.
“We’re actually doing more wrong-way driver detection systems that are placed along the road,” he said.
Ray said at Lem Turner and I-95 for example, there is a wrong-way detection system that will notify officials that a driver is going the wrong way. FDOT is working to add more.
“Eventually we will be able to tie those into the message boards to let drivers know they’re going the wrong way,” he said.
Ray says on some roads there are markings to help drivers know they’re going the wrong way.
“We have reflective pavement markings or RPMS,” he said.
Ray said if you’re driving the wrong way on some roads in Jacksonville you’ll see the markers on the road turn red. If you don’t notice red markings on the road, you’re going the right way.
“Drivers will see flashing red lights that say ‘wrong way,’” he said. “When it realizes that someone’s going the wrong way we get notified and can notify FHP.”
If you see a driver going the wrong way, Ray said to get over to the side of the road and call 911.
“Only you can control your actions on the roadway,” he said.