Community honors Life of Gavin Conroy with fundraiser, one year after fatal Crash

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Family and friends of Gavin Conroy, a 23-year-old who died four months after suffering third-degree burns in a crash, gathered to celebrate his life at Outback Steakhouse in Orange Park on Thursday.

Conroy was hit by Clifford Ringer in 2022, who was driving on a suspended license and has a long history with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, according to Action News Jax.

Ringer’s arrests span decades with charges ranging from driving under the influence, possession of drugs, disorderly intoxication, trespassing, leaving the scene of an incident, and careless driving. Ringer was charged with vehicular homicide in Conroy’s death, but when he was out on bond, he died of an overdose.

Donna Conroy, Gavin’s mother, said her son had both of his lungs completely collapse on Mother’s Day morning and lost fingers, both legs, nose, ears, and endured a lot of pain. “He fought,” she said.

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“He had a larger-than-life smile. It didn’t matter what was going on, if Gavin was there, I could look at him, and I just felt calm,” Donna Conroy added. “He had a big family and an even bigger heart, always looking out for others.”

According to a crash report, Ringer didn’t stop at a light and rear-ended Conroy, who then collided with two other cars. The 23-year-old’s fuel tank ruptured and engulfed his car, burning 90% of his body. He spent four months in the ICU before passing away in August.

At the event, they sold t-shirts that say ‘Gavin Strong,’ and there was also a silent auction. The family is facing overwhelming hospital bills, and the community is stepping up to help.

“There is currently a pending lawsuit against Ringer’s family filed by the Conroys,” said Meghan Moriarty, reporting for Action News Jax. “It was evident that Gavin was loved by so many.”

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