The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the death of a pedestrian that shut down all northbound lanes Interstate 95 north of St. Augustine for three and a half hours Thursday morning.
According to the FHP, 82-year-old Charles Burnice Sherrill was attempting to cross I-95 north of International Golf Parkway about 5:30 a.m. when he was struck by a car. Troopers say he died at the scene.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan said Sherrill had pulled his pickup into the southbound median of the interstate next to a guardrail and was trying to cross to the shoulder to help his daughter-in-law, 61-year old Patricia Harris. Her vehicle had overheated while driving north on I-95, forcing her to pull over in a grassy area.
Bryan said the victim's daughter-in-law called her family for help and Sherrill was coming to help. He hopped over the guardrail and got all the way across traffic to the right lane when he was hit by a car, troopers said. According to the FHP report, he was dressed in dark clothing.
"The initial driver that struck the victim, the very first person, indicated as he approached the crash scene he noticed the hazard lights and the emergency equipment of the disabled vehicle and also saw the additional vehicle on the other side of the road. So that's where his attention was diverted," Bryan said. "(The driver) realized he struck something and immediately pulled over and didn't realize what he'd hit. At that point, additional vehicles were striking the victim in the roadway, and at that point he realized it was a human body and called 911."
Channel 4 received the 911 calls from Thursday morning's fatal accident on I-95 from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Thursday evening.
All of the calls made Thursday morning when Sherrill was struck were graphic in nature. Channel 4 decided to air a portion of one of the 911 calls made Thursday. It was the only portion of the calls the station felt was appropriate to air.
"Yes, I need to report an accident," said the caller.
"Where?" asked the operator.
"Northbound on I-95, hello," said the caller.
"Where on I-95?" asked the operator.
"I'm not exactly sure. I know, uh, I got on exit 323 and I was traveling about 5 minutes into the northbound lanes. I see an exit sign here or a sign here. I'm about 100 feet away from it," explained the caller.
"Are you northbound or southbound?" asked the operator.
"I'm northbound," said the caller.
"OK, what kind of accident was it?" asked the operator.
"I believe I just hit a pedestrian," said the caller.
The FHP said all of the vehicles involved in the crash stayed on scene and cooperated.
Sherrill lived in Jacksonville. His daughter-in-law lives in St. Augustine.
All northbound I-95 traffic was closed in the area and traffic was diverted onto International Golf Parkway and onto U.S. 1 until 9:30 a.m.
If you have any information about the accident, you're asked to call the FHP communications center at 904-301-3700 or by dialing *FHP.