Man recalls rushing to help wrong-way driver whose car careened off Buckman Bridge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Johnny Glennon says he was heading home to St. Augustine, when suddenly he witnessed a wrong-way driver who crashed their car on the Buckman Bridge — careening into the St. Johns River.

The driver of the other car, a 20-year-old woman, collided with a guardrail at about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning on the southbound (Mandarin) side of the bridge. Troopers said it appeared she crossed over from the northbound lanes through a gap in the median and then into southbound lanes before striking the guardrail.

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Glennon said he was driving on the Buckman and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“I saw headlights looking like they were gonna come right in our lane. Instead they straightened out and flew past us, probably going 60 mph, and when I turned around, I saw the lights in the back of the car up in the air and they just dropped completely down below the bridge,” Glennon said.

“I pulled off put my hazards on and ran out,” he continued. “I wasn’t expecting to find anyone alive, really, and when I got close to the gap in the bridge, I heard the girl screaming.”

Glennon rushed to help and waded into the water, which was a waist deep, pulling the woman from her car. It wasn’t completely submerged.

“For traveling that far in the car and being uninjured was pretty much a blessing,” he said. “I feel like she had someone looking out for her that day.”

The Florida Highway Patrol said the woman escaped with minor injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt.

Additional details as to what caused the crash are unclear.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.