Man critically injured in Clay County crash remains hospitalized after 3 months

Gavin Conroy’s mother fears yearlong hospital stay for her son

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Months later, a Clay County man is still fighting for his life after 93% of his body was burned in a fiery four-car crash in Orange Park.

Gavin Conroy, 23, has been in treatment at UF Health’s burn unit in Gainesville. Just days ago, his legs were amputated.

According to troopers, the crash happened April 14 at Wells Road and Debarry Avenue — as Conroy was on his way to work at the Outback Steakhouse. Investigators said a Middleburg man who was driving on a suspended license caused the crash.

After three months, Conroy remains in critical condition.

“My son was stopped at a red light,” said Conroy’s mother, Donna.

Conroy’s mother has been at her son’s side ever since the crash. She said just days ago, the family made the hardest decision it’s had to make so far.

“He just had both his legs amputated above the knee to save his life because he is that critical,” she said.

Conroy’s mother is hopeful of the future for her son, but the road to recovery is long.

“He’s having moments. Yesterday he mouthed for the first time ‘water’ to me, that he wanted water,” his mother said. “He has a trach. He hasn’t been able to speak. Very limited in ways he can communicate yes and no for us.”

Conroy’s mother said it’s possible her son will be in the hospital for an entire year, which will be followed by several months of outpatient rehab.

A report from the Florida Highway Patrol shows Clifford Ringer, of Middleburg, was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license with third or subsequent conviction, and driving on a suspended license in a crash with serious bodily injury. He was also cited for careless driving.

“When we go to court, there’s 27 people, and we’ll wear T-shirts so he sees Gavin’s face,” Donna Conroy said.

Records show Ranger has had several traffic citations, including one a few weeks ago on Blanding Boulevard.

“It is very frustrating for our family,” Donna Conroy said. “Frustrated because every day I walk into hospital where my son can’t speak, can’t move, he’s lost both his legs. His whole life is changed. And the person who caused this is walking around free with no consequences as of now.”

Ringer’s next court date is scheduled for August.

About the Author:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.