• Body, pickup truck recovered in Buckman Bridge crash

    By: Leslie Coursey


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Crews found a body in the St. Johns River not far from where a crash sent a pickup truck over the Buckman Bridge.

    The Florida Highway Patrol said the victim, 48-year-old William Maddox of Tampa, was in a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck.

    A sonar device from the JSO dive team helped to locate Maddox, about 25 feet from where crews recovered the pickup truck.

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    Shortly before 11 a.m., crews pulled the pickup truck from the St. Johns River.  The FHP said divers did not find the body in the pickup truck.

    Investigators say a tractor-trailer jackknifed in the southbound lanes going toward Mandarin. Authorities say drivers in the northbound lanes started to look at the crash scene, not realizing traffic ahead of them had stopped.

    The FHP said a 2006 Toyota Scion, driven by 21-year-old Andrew McPhun, rear-ended the pickup truck, sending it over the northbound side of the bridge and into the water below.

    Charges against McPhun are pending, according to the FHP.  McPhun's friends spoke with Action News and tell us he remembers everything. Investigators say it could be weeks before they determine if McPhun will face any charges. 

    Witnesses attempted to locate the man in the water and police say he tried to save his own life.

    "We know the person was out of the vehicle. They attempted to swim," said FHP Capt. Keith Gaston.

    PHOTO GALLERY: Pickup truck goes off Buckman Bridge

    The incident happened shortly before 8 a.m.  The FHP shut down one northbound lane of the bridge for hours.  All lanes on the bridge reopoened shortly before 1 p.m.

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    A crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat – Small from Coast Guard Station Mayport and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, were on scene.

    The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Navy also assisted with the search.

    RELATED: Recovery of pickup truck in fatal Buckman crash a collaborative effort 

    Action News spoke with the Florida Department of Transportation about the bridge and its safety and inspection history.

    FDOT said the height of the traffic railing on the bridge is built according to standards at the time of construction, and there are no plans to change the structure, according to spokesman Ron Tittle.

    The bridge's last inspection took place on April 30, 2013.

    The inspection took place three years after a deadly crash that killed a local mother.

    In 2010, Luma Kajy was killed when a woman driving under the influence hit her car and knocked her SUV off the bridge.  Sasha Pringle received 30 years in prison for the crash.  The Kajy family has since moved to Michigan. 

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