Police identify man in wheelchair struck on Philips Highway

Investigators said man was hit near Gator Lounge


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 47-year-old man a wheelchair died after he was hit by a car early Saturday morning as he was sitting in the right lane of Philips Highway near Reba Avenue, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

Kenneth Owen was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead. Police said. Witnesses told police that people pulled him out of the road in front of the Gator Lodge twice before the collision occurred just after 5 a.m.

Northbound lanes of Philips Highway at Reba Avenue were closed for about three hours after the crash. Lanes reopened just after 8 a.m., officials said.

A News4Jax crew at the scene reported there are no crosswalks in the area where the man tried to cross. 

People who frequent the area said the incident highlights an issue.

"This road is not set up for pedestrian crossing anywhere, really," passerby Marc Ledbetter said.

News4Jax watched the area throughout the day as several people crossed. Some people were coming very close to cars.

Marc Ledbetter is at the crossing often and has experienced the problem firsthand. 

"One time, I got ticketed for crossing the street," Ledbetter said. "I was going to Walmart to Subway. They told me that I had to go, but nobody is going to walk all the way around. They're just not going to do that."

Ledbetter pointed to the heavy construction and traffic lights in the area, saying that with so much development along Philips Highway, something needs to be added to prevent people from being hit. 

"There's a traffic light right there," Ledbetter said. "Then, you have to go all the way down to Emerson for a traffic light. Then, you have to go to University for a traffic light. Put up more traffic lights. Govern the traffic a little more."

The driver stayed at the scene and spoke with officers, JSO said. There was no word if the driver will be cited. 

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