Two people were killed and at least one was seriously injured in three St. Johns County crashes inside of 14 hours Thursday night and Friday morning.
The two Friday morning crashes, both on Interstate 95, shut down all northbound lanes and snarled traffic on state roads and highways in and around St. Augustine during the morning commute and well into the afternoon.
The first crash of the morning killed 27-year-old Mercedes B. Britton of Jacksonville.
As of press time, Florida Highway Patrol had said little about the wreck involving two passenger vehicles and two semi-tractor trailers that occurred just before 4:30 a.m. a couple of miles north of the State Road 207 interchange.
The “dynamics” of the crash were still under investigation with additional details promised once a cause was determined, according to a release from Highway Patrol.
The wreck shut down the interstate’s northbound lanes well past noon with authorities diverting traffic onto State Road 207 and then to U.S. 1 northbound.
Congestion was compounded later in the morning when a second crash, at the State Road 206 interchange, required all northbound lanes to be shutdown nearly 10 miles south of the first wreck.
The second crash, involving a car and a truck, happened on the I-95 overpass, according to a Facebook post from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Florida Highway Patrol, on Twitter, said there was at least one “trauma alert” at the crash and all lanes had to be shut down to land a helicopter for the injured person. Traffic was diverted at the exit, around the overpass and back onto the interstate while the lanes were shut down, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Additional details about that crash had not been released by Friday evening.
By 2 p.m., all lanes on the interstate were reopened with the Sheriff’s Office warning motorists to use caution as it would take a while for the morning’s congestion to clear.
The two wrecks followed a Thursday night crash on U.S. 1 at Race Track Road that killed a Ponte Vedra Beach woman.
Louanne Pontecorvo, 59, was pronounced dead at the scene after her Ford escape ran into the back of a semi-tractor trailer that was stopped at a traffic light just before 10 p.m., Highway Patrol said in a news release.
Pontecorvo was traveling in the outside northbound lane of the highway when, for reasons that were still under investigation, she failed to stop and collided with the back of the truck.
Her vehicle spun counterclockwise and came to rest in a ditch on the east side of the highway, the release said.
Pontecorvo’s death and Britton’s death are the first fatalities on St. Johns County roadways this year according to information available from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Last year, 44 people were killed in 41 crashes. Thirty people died in crashes in 2016.