JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a wrong-way driver caused a crash on I-95 Friday night before she carjacked a FedEx truck, crashed it downtown and jumped into the St. Johns River.
Around 6:50 p.m., the 25-year-old wrong-way driver was heading south driving a white Range Rover in the northbound lanes of I-95, the FHP report said.
As the SUV approached Emerson Street, it struck a white Jeep Cherokee that was traveling north, causing the Jeep to spin out and become disabled in the middle of the highway. Debris from the collision flew into the southbound lanes and struck a gray Mercedes Benz traveling in the far-left lane.
News4JAX spoke with a witness who said that she was lucky to be in the middle lane and could move out of the way because her car was close to being hit.
Dayline Jusino-Velez was riding with her 15-year-old son on I-95 north when she saw the Range Rover traveling in the opposite direction.
In the dash cam video captured by Jusino-Velez, you can see the cars moving over.
“We got onto 95 northbound at University and just around Emerson, we see some vehicles that are slowing down and veering,” Jusino-Velez said. “[My son] goes quiet and immediately I see the car in front of me veer right. In a matter of seconds, I see this white SUV zooming past us.”
Troopers said the wrong-way driver then got out of the SUV and removed the driver from a FedEx truck that was stopped because of the previous collision. Stealing the truck, the driver headed north on I-95 toward downtown Jacksonville, the report said.
The family identified the FedEx driver as Makayla Collier. The family says Collier has a broken foot, leg, and fractured skull.
The 25-year-old managed to make it to the Hyatt Regency where she hit a light pole, then hopped out of the truck and jumped into the St. Johns River.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department pulled the woman out of the river, and she was taken into custody.
According to the FHP report, no one was injured in any of the crashes, but during the woman’s first appearance on Saturday, her attorney, David Barksdale, indicated at least one person was hurt during the incident.
Barksdale also disclosed that the woman had been under a Baker Act, which is an involuntary mental health commitment, on Thursday and was released, and this incident took place on Friday. The woman did not appear in court on Saturday because she was being “disruptive” and refused to attend, an officer said.
“I expressed to the Sheriff’s Office that I believe she needs treatment that the jail can’t provide. I made that clear to the jail that she needs to get treatment at a facility that specializes in psychiatric issues,” Barksdale said in court.
The judge said he was strongly encouraging the Sheriff’s Office to begin proceedings for a Baker Act for the woman, whose next court date was set for Sept. 12.
NOTE: When News4JAX first reported the story, the woman’s name was not included because FHP does not release the names of those involved in crashes. Now that we have learned her name from court proceedings, we won’t be adding it to the article because we learned during her first appearance that she has a history of mental illness, and it is believed that history is related to what happened on Friday.
Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.