Various news outlets are reporting on a horrific tragedy that unfolded Monday afternoon in Jacksonville. According to the FHP, just before 2 p.m., a tractor-trailer heading south on the Buckman Bridge was unable to stop for traffic slowing down in front of him and crashed into a Chevrolet Tahoe that caught fire. FHP said the two adults and two children in the SUV that burst into flames died. A second SUV was also hit in that accident and three people from that vehicle are now at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
An Action News viewer says fifteen to twenty people were running around the scene franticly.The witnesses said you could feel heat coming from that car all way from the other side of bridge.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan spoke with the media after the accident and noted that the scene was complex and very long. It involves a large tractor-trailer, in addition to two other vehicles, coupled with a fire which makes the investigation complicated for FHP investigators. Notwithstanding those variables, Sgt. Bryan was confident they would come to a conclusion. He did comment that the collision ignited the fire almost instantly and doubted whether witnesses would have been able to do much to help. He also noted that the driver of the semi was not injured. He is cooperating with police and will be given drug and alcohol tests.
First Coast News spoke with FDOT spokesman Ron Tittle who says there have been around 1200 crashes on the Buckman Bridge in the past three years. In the past 10 months, there have been some close calls and deadly accidents on the bridge.
All of us at Edwards & Ragatz send our condolences to the families of those who died and pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured in this terrible tragedy.