2 injured when car crashes into swampy area of I-295 at Collins Road

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Traffic was snarled Tuesday afternoon when a vehicle crashed into a swampy area off the side of Interstate 295 near the Collins Road exit.

Multiple crews from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department were called in to pull the car out. Traffic in the area was backed up for miles.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, a car and SUV were traveling in southbound lanes of I-295. FHP said the car collided and sideswiped the SUV, and in the process, the car went off the roadway and down an embankment before landing in the standing water.

Several lanes of I-295 were closed while the driver, a 31-year-old Orange Park man, had to be extricated. A 19-year-old Jacksonville woman, who was a passenger in the car, was said to have minor injuries.

A 39-year-old Orange Park woman, who was driving the SUV, was not injured.

FL-511 photo (News4JAX.com)

Justin Miller, a producer for River City Live, said he saw the crash, and the moments leading up to it.

“I see him swerve, and swerve again — and next thing I know, it was probably two car lanes up, and I just see (claps hands) a big plume of smoke and his car just toppled to the right side,” Miller said.

Miller said he and several others pulled over — and rushed to help.

“I had another guy get out in front of me and he had like a jumpsuit on, almost like a painter’s jumpsuit, and he just dove into the water and started like breaking the trees off, trying to get the woman out of the car, and we’re screaming: ‘Is everybody OK?’” Miller recalled.

Miller said he has five boys, and was sure to hug each of them when he got home.

FHP said the crash was pending investigation.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.