JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate a crash on the Buckman Bridge on Monday that took the lives of four people, injuring three others and stopped traffic for five hours.
“It’s a very complex scene, and a very long scene,” said FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan, of the investigation that involved a semi truck and two SUV’s, one of which went up in flames.
Bryan says two adults and two minors died inside the SUV, after it was it was hit by the semi just before 2 p.m.
“What it appears right now,” Bryan said, “is that traffic was slowing in front of the tractor trailer and that traffic trailer struck the rear end of the vehicle.”
FHP has not yet confirmed why traffic was slowing down, but Gordon Williams told Action News he was on the Buckman moments before that crash occurred.
“It was bound to happen,” he said.
Williams called 911 after spotting an SUV stalled in the roadway on the bridge. He told Action News he knew the passengers were at risk.
“It was at a dead stop and wasn’t moving. It was just in the middle of the road.”
Williams immediately called 911 and was told help was on the way.
“I seen (sic) that it was four people sitting in the vehicle. As we (sic) was approaching the vehicle, we noticed the hazard light was on. We almost hit the vehicle, so we had to swerve around. Then I heard the news. I feel sorry. I wish I could of done more to help out.”
The FHP has not yet released the names of the victims, but a local pastor tells Action News the deceased victims are all from a local family.
Three additional victims in a second SUV also hit by the semi were taken to Baptist South with non-life threatening injuries.
The truck driver was not injured and police say he was cooperating with the investigation.
The Florida Department of Transportation did inspect the bridge following the crash and determined it was stable. Minor repairs may be needed in the future, but all lanes reopened at 7 p.m. Monday.