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2 die in fiery wrong-way crash that closed I-95 for hours

Southbound traffic snarled for 10 hours due to crash, highway repairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two people died in a head-on crash of two vehicles early Friday morning -- one an SUV that was going north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 -- according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers were dispatched to the crash at 2:50 a.m. and found one vehicle on fire and the SUV overturned.

Troopers said a Ford Escape driven by Mary Russ, 23, of St. Augustine, was going the wrong way when it collided with a van. Russ and the second driver, who has not been identified, died at the scene.

Officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office diverted all traffic from I-95 onto the southbound lanes of I-295, south of Philips Highway, until about 8:30 a.m. Two of the four lanes remained closed until 1:15 p.m. when construction crews completed resurfacing the road that was damaged in the fiery crash.

"This type of incident happens all over the United States -- (on) interstates all over the world," News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said. "When you come across crashes like this, the usual cause -- not saying it's the actual cause for this -- but the usual cause is the driver is driving while impaired or that driver may have been distracted, made the wrong turn or is just not paying attention to what is going on."

WATCH: Looking into wrong-way crashes

Jefferson said it's not uncommon for these types of crashes to happen overnight or in the early morning hours.

News4Jax records of other deadly wrong-way crashes show there was a head-on crash about a dozen miles further south on I-95 in 2008. In that case, a driver who had been driving the wrong way and a woman coming back from Disney with her family both died.

In August 2018, a man was killed in a crash while driving the wrong way on the Wonderwood Connector.

In April 2011, a head-on crash on State Road 9A (now I-295) near Baymeadows killed the passenger of a car struck and the driver who had been going the wrong way died a few days later.


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