Last Updated: 5:40 p.m.
A one-mile stretch of I-95 from the State road 100 bridge south turned into a crash zone during a 90-minute period around midday, resulting in overturned vehicles but no injuries in the first crash and the death of a man who was allegedly fleeing in a chase yet again triggered either in Duval or St. Johns County and involving the Florida Highway Patrol.
The fleeing man is alleged to have committed a carjacking.
It is at least the third FHP chase in six days resulting in destruction of property, injuries or death. Last week FHP shot and wounded a woman in a chase that ended in a Hammock Resort parking lot, and the next day initiated a chase against a man who had committed minor infractions but ended by crashing his car on private property in Seminole Woods. (See: “FHP Chase Ends in Shooting at Two Women, Wounding One, at Hammock Beach Resort; Incident Captured on Video,” and “Another FHP Chase Ends in Arrest After Manhunt Off Slow Drift Turn in Seminole Woods.”
The chases have provoked some criticism locally and complaints to the sheriff. The Sheriff’s Office has not been involved in the chases except in a supportive role after the chases have ended. Flagler County Sheriff’s policy strictly regulates chasing protocols, generally recommending against chasing individuals for non-violent infractions. A carjacking would be considered a violent crime.
A Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson said that at 11:20 this morning, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office requested FHP’s assistance with a vehicle pursuit of a carjacking suspect on I-95. The carjacking had taken place in Duval County.
“The alleged violation occurred in Duval County. The suspect was being actively pursued by the SJCSO southbound on I-95 and then entered into Flagler County,” the FHP spokesperson said. “As FHP troopers were responded to assist, the suspect crashed into the back of a commercial motor vehicle and its trailer.” The truck was carrying a shipping container. The vehicle was crushed beneath the back of the container up to the cab of the car, likely killing its occupant instantly. The driver of the truck was not injured.
An FHP release issued this evening states that the driver was a 30-year-old Orlando man who, in slower traffic, attempted to travel on the inside shoulder of the interstate, but lost control of the car, swerved into the middle lane, where the truck was traveling, and crashed.
Several St. Johns County Sheriff’s patrol cars were among those surrounding the crash scene. The Florida Highway Patrol is handling the crash investigation. FHP has not released the identity of the victim.
The crash shut down the southbound lanes of I-95 at Palm Coast Parkway, diverting traffic onto U.S. 1 or Old Kings Road. Not long after the crash, Old Kings Road had backed up two miles, then three, from the traffic light at Town Center Boulevard.
The earlier crash took place at 10:14 less than a mile south of the bridge when GMC SUV pulling a camper overturned in the median of I-95. The driver had reportedly lost control and struck a truck, according to 911 notes, before overturning. No one was injured.
The GMC ended up jumping the guardrail to the southbound side (the driver was driving north) and stood on its side, while the trailer portion remained on the northbound side, also on its side.
The crash caused backups in both directions. Roger’s Towing of Bunnell cleared the roadway at 10:47 a.m.