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Man charged in deadly New Year’s Eve wrong way crash

Passenger dies in crash on I-95 early Thursday morning

Booking photo of Angel Lopez-Mendoza, who is accused of causing a New Year's Eve wrong-way crash.
Booking photo of Angel Lopez-Mendoza, who is accused of causing a New Year's Eve wrong-way crash. (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

A 47-year-old man accused of driving a car the wrong on Interstate 95 in southern St. Johns County and hitting an oncoming SUV early Thursday morning has been charged with driving under the influence and negligent manslaughter.

Angel Lopez-Mendoza was injured in a crash that killed a passenger and injured another person in his car and seriously injured the driver of the SUV. He was absentee booked into the St. Johns County Jail on charges filed by the Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened just after midnight Thursday on I-95 in between U.S. 1 and State Road 206, just north of the Flagler County line.

It’s unclear where the at-fault driver got onto the wrong side of the road, but the exits nearby have large, red and white signs that say, “Wrong Way.” While they don’t light up at night, headlights do reflect off them.

This was the second fatal wrong-way crash in St. Johns County in the last week of the year. News4Jax records show dozens of people have been killed in wrong-way crashes in Northeast Florida.