| Loved ones are saying their final goodbyes to a Jacksonville mother and her 4-year-old son killed in a crash earlier this month. The crash engulfed their SUV in flames on Interstate 95 in St. Johns County, Tuesday December 6th.
This is the sixth deadly crash on that stretch of highway since the start of the month according to the Florida Highway Patrol(FHP). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls Interstate 95 is the deadliest interstate in the country.
Troopers say Helena Kent and her son, Chase, were traveling in the southbound lane on December 6th when a car rammed into the back of their SUV. The SUV then crashed into a middle barrier and burst into flames. FHP is investigating what led the car to crash into the SUV, but troopers say the driver of that car is cooperating with the investigation. “She was an amazing mother and kind to everyone”, said Kent’s sister Dayna. While troopers investigated, traffic was at a standstill for about three hours during the evening commute.
“I-95 has been named the deadliest road in the country due to the large amount of fatalities that happen each year. With that being said, it is our job to do something about that,” said public information officer for the Florida Highway Patrol, Sergeant Dylan Bryan. Troopers have not ruled out distracted driving the crash that killed Kent and her son. The NHTSA used information collected between 2010 and 2015 to rank the 10 ten deadliest interstates across the United States. Although I-95 runs from South Florida to Maine, the NHTSA says it ranked the interstate as the deadliest because of the large number of deadly crashes that happen in Florida.
FHP has launched several initiatives to decrease the number of crashes, especially deadly ones. Bryan said, “The biggest threat to our roads right now is distracted driving, and we need to find ways to get drivers to put down the phones, tablets, make-up and whatever else they have in their hands that is keeping their focus off the road.”
FHP has launched “Distracted Driving Awareness” month in the hopes that drivers will stay focused while they are behind the wheel. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said 45,740 distracted driving crashes happened in Florida in 2015. 214 of those crashes resulted in someone’s death.
Infograph created by: Tywanna Pryor using http://www.metachart.com
According to the report, Orange County leads the state in the number of distracted driving crashes with 5,506. “It is our goal that launching initiatives like the DD awareness month we can keep more people from being killed on our highways, during our watch,” said Bryan.