FHP: Man, 48, killed in head-on crash on Heckscher Drive bridge

Mother seriously injured when SUV hit by pickup truck, troopers say

By Jennifer Ready - Reporter, Allyson Henning - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 48-year-old Fernandina Beach man was killed Tuesday morning in a head-on crash on the Browns Creek Bridge in Jacksonville, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said Irin Bennett was headed east on Heckscher Drive at about 8:30 a.m. when his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck traveled into the westbound lane on the bridge, colliding head-on with a GMC SUV carrying a mother and her 1-year-old daughter.

Bennett died at the scene. The woman suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries, and she and her child were taken to UF Health Jacksonville. Troopers said the baby was not injured.

A third vehicle, a white box truck, rear-ended the SUV after the initial collision, but the driver and a passenger in that truck were not hurt, troopers said.

All lanes of Heckscher Drive (A1A) were closed from I-295 to the Nassau County line for about four hours. The road reopened just before noon.

The collision was the second of two deadly head-on crashes on A1A Tuesday morning. The first was 18 miles north, near the Nassau Sound Bridge.

Joel Youngs, who does maintenance at Browns Creek Fishcamp not far from the site of the deadly bridge crash, said he regularly sees vehicles speed through the area at an estimated 65 mph or 70 mph. The posted speed limit is 45 mph, he said.

“It’s crazy. We just had an accident here about three days ago,” Youngs said. “To see another fatal accident today is just like -- people just have to slow down a little bit.”

Troopers have not said if speed was a factor in either of Tuesday's deadly crashes.

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