JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man driving south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 early Friday morning crashed into an SUV, both vehicles bursting into flames, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Both drivers died. Troopers are still working to learn the identity of the person killed in the SUV.
The FHP is investigating where the car entered I-95 and how long it had been going the wrong way on the interstate or if the car made a U-turn before striking the oncoming vehicle at 1:50 a.m. Troopers are looking at surveillance cameras in the area and asking anyone who saw the vehicle before the impact to call 904-695-4000 or *FHP (*347) on a cellphone.
All northbound lanes on I-95 before the ramp to the Acosta Bridge were blocked from just before 2 a.m. until 7:20 a.m.
There have been five deaths from wrong-way crashes in Jacksonville in the last month.
Jason Compton with the Northeast Florida Safety Council said research shows most there are between 300 and 400 wrong-way crashes in the United States each year.
“Usually after 11 p.m. on the interstate when people get on an on-ramp and start going in the wrong direction,” Compton said.
Compton had this advice if a driver sees a vehicle coming at them on the highway.
“I do think the safest thing to do is to pull over to the side of the road breakdown lane call 911 and try to get yourself into the safest position as possible,” Compton said.
In March, the Florida Department of Transportation installed cameras and warning lights at two exit ramps from I-95 at Norwood Avenue on the Northside. Warning lights on the signs flash alerting the driver attempting to enter and a camera singles FHP a driver has entered the ramp the wrong way. FDOT was expected to add these at more interchanges this month but yet to happen.
Recent wrong-way crashes in Jacksonville in the last 12 months
- April 27, 2020: 17-year-old boy killed in a head-on crash with a semi on I-95 near Pecan Park Road. He was driving north in the southbound lanes.
- May 3, 2020: 49-year-old Theresa Jackson, driving the wrong way on the Mathews Bridge, continues eastbound in the westbound lanes, leading to a head-on crash on the Arlington Expressway, killing the other driver. Jackson is charged with vehicular homicide.
- Aug. 1, 2020: 29-year-old Jacksonville man and 29-yr old Jacksonville man killed in a head-on collision on I-95 near Forest Street with a pickup truck driven northbound in the southbound lanes by 31-yr old Stephen Boydston. Boydston, who was critically injured, is charged with two counts DUI manslaughter.
- Dec. 26, 2020: 29-year-old man from Akron Ohio killed when the pickup truck he’s a passenger in is struck head-on by a pickup truck driven by a 31-year-old St. Augustine man going the wrong way on SR-207 in St Johns County. Two unborn children die later at the hospital. The wrong-way driver and four others in the other truck are all injured.
- Dec. 30, 2020: Car going north in the southbound lanes of I-95 in St. Johns County collides head-on with an SUV, killing a passenger in the car.
- March 13, 2021: 22-year-old woman from Texas driving north in the southbound lanes of 295 crashes head-on into a 23-year-old Jacksonville man, killing him.
- March 16, 2021: 71-year-old man driving an SUV westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-10 crashes head-on into a 57-year-old man; both area drivers killed.
- April 30, 2021: 26-year-old Jacksonville man driving south in the northbound lanes of I-95 collides head-on with an SUV, killing both drivers.