Driver dead after car crashed into NAS Jacksonville gate barrier

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man is dead after officials say he crashed into a barrier at one of NAS JAX’s gates Thursday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol says security deployed the protective barrier, which stopped the man’s car from entering the station through the Birmingham gate.

FHP said Thursday morning it did not suspect shots were fired or lethal force was used; officials say the driver died at the scene.

Half an hour before crashing into the gate, FHP says the driver hit a car near Timuquana Road and US-17. Officials say he then drove south and turned at the Birmingham gate, side-swiping an SUV as he tried to get on base.

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FHP says the driver has no known affiliation with the military but has not yet released his name.

“We want to find out exactly what he was doing that led to the initial crash investigation as well as why he was trying to gain access to NAS JAX,” Sgt. Dylan Bryan with FHP said. “We just believe at this point, he was just trying to evade the initial collision.”

Action News Jax Law & Safety Expert Dale Carson says a fatality might not be an unusual outcome depending on how fast a car is going when it hits a barrier.

“The barriers used on military bases tend to be pretty rigid,” he said, adding that this is especially the case after the 9/11 attacks.

However, Carson says times have also changed since then:

“Back toward 9/11, the penalty would’ve been a terrorist-related offense. Now, it’s simply a trespass, which is a misdemeanor, and is punishable by jail and a fine.”

FHP, NCIS, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Navy Police are investigating the crash. Witnesses are asked to contact NCIS.

Late Thursday Action News Jax asked NAS JAX and FHP for the man’s identity. We’re still waiting for a response.

Carson says such investigations can take several weeks.

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