Distracted drivers to blame for San Jose Blvd. crashes?

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Jun 13 2013 03:21:56 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2013 08:17:05 PM EDT

Witnesses say drivers were honking at the woman before she crashed into the tractor trailer. They say they didn't hear any brakes squealing nor did they see skid marks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It's unclear why a woman slammed her SUV underneath a tractor-trailer on San Jose Boulevard in Mandarin on Wednesday afternoon, but some people think many crashes in the congested area are the result of distracted driving.

"I was able to see the car stuck underneath the trailer of the tractor-trailer. It was horrible," said Fred Kaiser, who drove by the crash.

The woman was hospitalized with serious injuries after the high-speed crash. The big rig was backing into an Ace Hardware on San Jose at Westberry Road around 1:30 p.m.

IMAGES: SUV hits tractor-trailer on San Jose Blvd.

Police said drivers were honking at the woman before the crash, leading many to believe she may have been distracted.

Chris Cockerham, who owns the gas station across the street, and thinks many of the crashes in the area could be avoided if people remembered to drive safely.

"People want to feel safe as they come in and out, and having the large trucks in and out of the facilities, you have businesses, some of it may be able to be avoided, others it may not," Cockerham said. "So this comes down to safe driving and don't hurry."

City councilman Matt Schellenberg says he doesn't think the intersection where the crash happened is necessarily in a dangerous area, but that people get impatient and distracted driving becomes an issue.

"I think they get anxious to get to the next light 'cause there are two or three lights right there in sequence, so I think we need to be a little more cautious through that and be patient through that area," Schellenberg said.

He said new construction on State Road 13 and Interstate 295 will hopefully help the flow of traffic, and he has contacted the Jacksonville Transportation Authority about a possible bus service to take St. Johns County residents to and from their jobs in Duval County.

In the mean time, Schellenberg is asking drivers for one thing.

"I'm not sure it will get better in a short period of time, so I ask people to be patient and make sure they are not on their phone or texting while they are in the traffic," he said.

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