Police: Driver loses control, van plows into Jacksonville Beach law office

Crash happened at attorney John Phillips' office location on 3rd Street North

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter, Vic Micolucci - I-TEAM reporter, anchor, Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - New video shows the moment a van crashed into attorney John Phillips' office in Jacksonville Beach on Monday.

It happened about 1 p.m. at the Law Office of John Phillips on Third Street North at Ninth Avenue North. 

According to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, the driver of the van had a medical issue, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle and crash into the building. Police said there were no trauma-related injuries and the driver was transported to a hospital to be checked for the medical issue that caused him to swerve off the road, as well as any possible injuries from the impact.

WATCH: Surveillance video of van crashing into law office

News4Jax was told a law partner had been sitting at his desk minutes before the van went through the building, just feet away from the attorney's desk and chair.

"Luckily, I happened to be at lunch," said Matthew Hunt, partner at Florida Justice. "I’ve got a lot of clients here in this area and I got texted by about three or four clients checking to see if I was OK. My wife saw the picture. Everybody was kind of panicking because everybody who knows me knows where my office is."

There were a few others inside at the time and they were all OK. 

News4Jax talked with Phillips as he saw the damage and shattered glass covering the ground for the first time.

"There is serious intrusion. It came all the way in," Phillips said. "It's shocking. I’m just glad no one was hurt."

Just north of the law office, there were several construction workers working on a water main project. They said that. if the driver had swerved off the road any later, he would have hit them as they were all in the ground, working.

"Nothing, no brakes -- just hit the building. Didn’t slow down or nothing. Came right through it, just right into the building," construction worker Jo Perez said. "Thank God, he made a real hard right instead of keep on going a little straighter and hit us."

Christoffer Hodges, who was also working near the crash, said he and others rushed to help the driver after the van slammed into the building. 

"We were working. All we know is we heard a boom. We looked up. He hit the wall. It started shaking. As it started shaking, we busted the window with the pry bar and got him out. When we got him out, we called 911," Hodges said. "It was scary."

The building was checked out and secured by the Jacksonville Beach Fire Department.

The next step will be the cleanup and insurance process. Contractors were at the business, cleaning up some of the mess and putting plywood up. 

Phillips said the attorney who works in the office will either be moved to another room in the building or to his Ortega office until everything is fixed. Phillips said he's just fortunate that no one in the office was injured and hopes that the driver of the van will be OK. 

 

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