Sergeant Kenneth Mark Boatright Jr. of the Florida Highway Patrol informed local Historic City News reporters that for more than 4-hours this afternoon, troopers had traffic re-routed between SR-16/16A and SR-13/SR-16 while the road was closed to investigate a single-vehicle traffic homicide.
At approximately 12:03 p.m., St Johns County traffic deputies were dispatched to assist FHP Homicide Investigator Corporal Steven Coppola with traffic control on SR-16 by Wards Creek Elementary School.
The driver of a 1999 GMC Sierra, 38-year-old Brandalyn Leigh Jones of St Augustine, who investigators determined was wearing her seatbelts, was traveling west on SR-16 in the area of Hunters Lane when, for a yet unknown reason, the vehicle suddenly left the roadway, onto the right shoulder. The pickup truck struck several trees and a wooden utility pole before coming to a stop.
The passenger, 36-year-old Dustin Behne of St Augustine who was not wearing his seatbelt as the truck was traveling along the grass shoulder, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Jones was stabilized then transported to the Orange Park Medical Center Trauma Center and is reportedly in stable condition at this time.
Toxicology reports have been ordered as the investigation continues to determine is alcohol played a role in the vehicle occupant’s death and driver’s injuries. No charges have been filed at this time, pending analysis of the medical reports. The roadway was re-opened about 5:00 p.m.