JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — New information is being released regarding the death of former Jacksonville Jaguar and Notre Dame football star Louis Nix III.
His body, along with his car, was found inside a retention pond on Jacksonville’s Northside, on Feb. 27, three days after he was reported missing.
His mother, Stephanie Wingfield, confirmed his death to Action News Jax the same day.
In the initial missing persons report filed on Feb. 24, Nix’s girlfriend, Ketarah Reed, said she last spoke with Nix on Feb. 23 at 7:57 p.m.
She told police he was on his way to her apartment but never showed up.
Earlier on Feb. 23, JSO was called to Reed’s apartment. Nix was captured on JSO body camera video around 3 a.m. that day, packing up his truck after the two had a disagreement. On the video, Nix doesn’t seem to be under the influence or overly rattled and fully cooperated with police. The truck captured on the body camera video was not the vehicle that was later found in the retention pond.
On March 4, JSO said it received an email from the police emergency communications sergeant about a 911 call made on Feb. 23 at 8:07 p.m.
The caller said she drove past the retention pond and said she saw “lights in the water and heard splashing.”
Within three minutes, the report said JSO units went to the area in search of a car and driver, but did not find anything.
Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson explained that a car can submerge in less than one minute.
Carson says when responding to these calls, officers are trained to look for gouges in the curb, tire tracks on the grass, oil on the water’s surface — anything that would indicate a car is submerged in the water.
But even when Carson went to the same scene, he didn’t see any of these markers.
“I didn’t see any indication the entire length of that roadway where the car went in,” he said.
Officers themselves aren’t equipped to go diving in retention ponds.
“They don’t have somebody suited up, in a car, riding with police, who can immediately go into the water and find a car that’s in zero visibility,” Carson pointed out.
To call in those resources, officers will need physical evidence.
The report did not specify if the JSO units included a dive team.
Ultimately, Nix’s remains and car were found on Feb. 27, after a man approached an off-duty officer saying he saw what appeared to be a body floating in a retention pond near Broxton Bay Drive. The man walked the officer to the pond, where the officer saw the body and called the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
JSO and JFRD removed his body from the water.
JSO’s air unit flew over the water and spotted Nix’s car and also removed it from the pond.
The report said it was about 50 feet out from the edge of the pond in about 10 feet of water. The rear windows were “either rolled down or broken out,” the report stated and the windshield was “caved inwards” and there was “heavy damage to the hood.”
Further investigation revealed that Nix was driving the wrong way in the area, struck a median, overcorrected, causing the car to go into the retention pond, according to JSO.
In the missing persons report, Reed told police she suspected Nix was intoxicated “due to the sound of his voice and choice of affectionate words” during a phone call he made to her.
The autopsy report also stated that Nix was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was over twice the legal limit at .192. The medical examiner also found small amounts of T-H-C in his system.
The medical examiner said his cause of death was drowning.
JSO gave Action News Jax the following statement regarding Nix’s death investigation: “We are investigating the handling of this incident, but cannot comment further until the case is closed.”
Nix was a star at Raines High School before playing at Notre Dame and going on to the NFL, where he eventually ended his career with the Jaguars.
“Football was his love, but it is what it is,” his mother said.
In December 2020, Nix was shot not far from his home near the River City Marketplace. In a dramatic cellphone video after the shooting, Nix said he was robbed while putting air in his tires.