Soldier dies after military vehicle flips

20-year-old died after being flown to Shands in Gainesville

LAWTEY, Fla. - A 20-year-old soldier died after the Army Humvee he was driving crashed and flipped on U.S. Highway 301 late Tuesday morning just north of Lawtey.

Arandall Ladarrion Shears, from West Point, Ga., who was with the 146th Signal Battalion of the Florida Army National Guard, was ejected in the crash that occurred just before 11:30 a.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

State troopers said Shears was heading northbound in the left lane of U.S. 301 when he tried to change lanes and lost control. The vehicle went into the grass median and overturned, losing its cargo.

County officials said Bradford County Emergency Management Director Brian Johns was returning to Starke from Jacksonville when he saw the crash and stopped to help the soldier, who was unresponsive. A nurse from Shands Hospital in Gainesville and other bystanders began CPR, officials said.

They said the soldier's pulse was restored and he was taken by ambulance to Shands Starke Hospital to meet the ShandsCair medical helicopter, where he was then flown to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He died at the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

Deputies said the Humvee was en route from Camp Blanding to Jacksonville when it crashed. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, which had one lane of both north and southbound traffic blocked.

The Sheriff's Office and Camp Blanding Joint Training Center police were assisting with the incident.

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