• FHP: Orange Park man killed on U.S. 301 after semitrailer pulled out in front of him

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax


    CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a deadly semitrailer crash that killed 20-year-old Dyllon Smith of Orange Park.

    It happened at 6:38 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 301 near County Road 218. 

    Smith had just left Macclenny and was on his way to visit a friend.

    According to the crash report, Smith was driving southbound on U.S. 301. 

    As he approached CR 218, FHP said a semitrailer driven by 33-year-old Ariel Bermudez of Orlando pulled out of the left turn lane and into the path of Smith’s Hyundai Sonata. 

    Smith family has hired attorney Sean Cronin, who will investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash.

    “For an unknown reason, (he) decided to come out of the turn lane not realizing that Dyllon's car was literally approaching right behind him,” Cronin said. “I'm going to be looking at the driving record of this driver. How long has he been driving? Why was he out there? Did he have taillights that worked? Were they inoperable?”

    FHP said Smith collided with the back of the semitrailer. The impact sent both vehicles into the median of U.S. 301, where they came to a final stop. 

    Bermudez was not hurt.

    “This accident was very, very preventable if the driver had just taken the due care to just pay attention to his surroundings,” Cronin said.

    Cronin also said the stretch of road is dangerous, especially at night, as it’s not well-lit.

    Smith’s mom was too emotional to speak publicly Wednesday. Several family members were at their Orange Park home. Smith’s mom said he was a smart and wonderful son. He has six brothers and sisters.

    Smith graduated from Middleburg High School last year and had recently moved out on his own. 

    “He had a love of food and loved to make people laugh,” Cronin said.

    According to FHP, since January 2015, troopers and Clay County deputies have responded to 54 crashes at or near the same intersection.

    One of them was fatal and 23 of the crashes involved injuries.

    The family is trying to raise money for Smith’s funeral arrangements. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.  

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