St. Johns County, FL - Two crashes involving four vehicles each tie up traffic for hours and put several people in the hospital.
The Florida Highway Patrol has released more information about the crashes in St. Johns County this morning.
The first major chain happened on I-95 southbound at mile marker 323/ International Golf Parkway. FHP says 23-year-old Jennifer Leigh Edwards, of St. Augustine, was driving in the right lane when she rear ended a commercial truck carrying a hazardous material. Her car then became disabled in the center lane and the truck pulled off to the right emergency lane. Edwards left her car and moved to the right emergency lane where she was talking with the truck driver, 60-year-old Roy Allan Schultz, of Jacksonville.
FHP says a car driven by 48-year-old Shelley Mardin Prendes, of St. Augustine, then sideswiped Edwards’ car and lost control. She spun in to the emergency lane, hitting Edwards. Edwards is now in critical condition at Orange Park Medical Center.
A fourth vehicle, a tractor-trailer, was also involved in the chain of crashes. FHP says 37-year-old Juan Tomas Sariento was driving in the right lane when he saw the cars off to the right of the road. When he tried to change lanes to avoid the problems, he struck the Accord- which was still in the road- before hitting the guardrail and then driving in to the median.
The other three drivers were not injured.
The Florida Highway Patrol is blaming another chain of accidents on the congestion caused from that first series, which happened just before 5 AM. They say several vehicles were slowing or stopped on I-95 southbound at mile marker 327- south of CR 210, but 38-year-old James Nealy Harris, of Palm Coast, did not realize the traffic had stopped. He lost control and then sideswiped a truck driven by 39-year-old Ronal Lynn Gardner, of Lancaster, SC. He continued in to 32-year-old Jolie Lynn Peterson Hoyt, of Orlando, and then overturned and hit a third car driven by 47-year-old Damon Russell Deas, of Jacksonville Beach.
Harris is now in serious condition at Baptist Medical and Hoyt in critical condition at Orange Park Medical. Deas suffered minor injuries.
FHP says charges are pending a full investigation of these crashes.