Contact Us
  • Comment

FHP: Victim of deadly Buckman Bridge accident was Tampa man, 48; survivor, 22, previously cited at least 6 times

Posted: July 16, 2014 - 8:41am  |  Updated: July 17, 2014 - 9:31am
A wrecker crane lifts a small pickup truck from the waters of the St. Johns River on Wednesday. The driver was killed after the truck was struck on the Buckman Bridge, spun and flipped into the river.
Bob Self/Staff Photographer
A wrecker crane lifts a small pickup truck from the waters of the St. Johns River on Wednesday. The driver was killed after the truck was struck on the Buckman Bridge, spun and flipped into the river.
Back   Photo: 1 of 2  Next
Northbound traffic on the Buckman Bridge was backed up Wednesday morning after a deadly accident.   Bob Self/Staff Photographer
Bob Self/Staff Photographer
Northbound traffic on the Buckman Bridge was backed up Wednesday morning after a deadly accident.

Animation courtesy First Coast News

SEE ALSO: Slideshow of the Buckman Bridge accidents

More Law & Disorder News

The Times-Union would like to talk with anyone who witnessed the accident. Please call reporter Jim Schoettler at (904) 359-4385 or 338-1609.

Update 8:35 a.m. - The FHP just identified the victim who died in the crash as William Maddox, 48, currently residing in Tampa. A message left Wednesday by the Times-Union at McPhun's Fleming Island home, where he apparently lives with his mother, has not been returned.

Update 8:05 a.m. - The Times-Union has learned the surviving driver, Andrew M. McPhun, 22 (age previously given by FHP as 21) of Fleming Island, has received at least six traffic citations since 2008 in Duval and Clay counties. In 2008, he was twice cited for speeding (attended traffic school once, paid fines both times) and once for not having a driver's license; in 2009 for speeding (only Clay citation; fined) 2011 for not having proof of insurance (dismissed) and in 2013 for speeding (paid fine).

Update 8 a.m. - Capt. Keith Gaston of the FHP said the victim's next of kin was notified of his death overnight and his identity will be released shortly. Read for updates. 

Update 7:50 a.m. - The FHP has yet to release the identity of the victim who perished in Wednesday's Buckman accident.

A northbound driver on the Buckman Bridge caused a deadly rush-hour accident Wednesday by smacking into a pickup truck, sending it spinning and flipping over the bridge’s concrete guardrail into the St. Johns River, police said.

It was the second accident on the bridge Wednesday morning and police suggested the first may have led to the second, which killed a 48-year-old Jacksonville man whose body was eventually recovered. His name has not been released.

The first accident occurred when a southbound tractor-trailer rig jackknifed. There were no reported injuries in the first accident, which led some northbound drivers to rubberneck. It’s possible that’s what led to the second accident, said Capt. Keith Gaston of the Florida Highway Patrol.

That wreck occurred about 8 a.m. when Andrew McPhun, 21, a driver in the outside northbound lane, tried to stop his Scion for halted traffic and swerved into a Ford Ranger, causing the pickup to spin out of control and flip over the wall, according to the Highway Patrol accident report.

Gaston said a pattern of spinning skid marks was found leading to the barrier wall, about 100 yards from the northbound end of the bridge near the Roosevelt Boulevard exit.

A person seen in the water after the crash quickly disappeared.

Barrier railings on the bridge are built to federal standards of 2 feet, 8 inches high and are designed to bounce swerving cars back into the road lane, but would not stop an airborne vehicle, particularly after a violent collision.

As traffic was snarled for miles on the heavily used bridge — only the outside lane of four northbound lanes remained open and all lanes were finally open about 12:30 p.m. — the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a Coast Guard boat and helicopter, and the Navy helped in the search.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department also sent a marine unit with sonar, department spokesman Tom Francis said.

The small, dark pickup was found upside down in about 12 feet of water. Search crews pulled the body about 25 feet north of the bridge about noon.

Recent accidents where motorists ended up in the river include a three-vehicle, February 2012 crash where a man was thrown into the water from his overturning SUV. But a plumber with a ladder helped him climb out.

In 2010, Sasha Nicole Pringle was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a crash that killed Luma Kajy, whose GMC Yukon plunged 76 feet after Pringle was driving erratically behind her. She was convicted of vehicular homicide, driving-under-the-influence manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.

In 1999 a pickup flipped over the barrier railing of the bridge and two people died. The truck careened over the side after the driver swerved to avoid another vehicle that had stopped.

Ron Tittle, spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation spokesman, said a visual inspection of the bridge shows no immediate concerns for structural damage. A special accident inspection will follow to document any details for the bridge's history and potential minor repairs.

Specifics on bridges fall under Homeland Security, but Tittle said there are no current plans to change the structure, only maintenance in the near future. He said it was last inspected April 30, 2013.

No charges had been filed late Wednesday as the crashes remain under investigation., (904) 359-4385, (904) 359-4091

Comments (21)

ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Davethecaveman 07/18/14 - 07:27 am

He doesn't have to had his

He doesn't have to had his cell stuck to his ear. Some people just drive that way. They speed and weave in one lane then another trying to get in front of others, but when you look at the whole picture, they don't save anytime at all. It's just not worth it.
PHD is correct. The bridge is NOT unsafe. Bad drivers are.

Jungle Cat
Jungle Cat 07/17/14 - 03:09 pm

This accident appears to

This accident appears to relate to a prior accident. I don't have enough practical knowledge of the precautions currently employed in the event of accidents.

I do have some ideas that may help keep people safe in the future.

1. Reduce the normal operating speed on the Buckman Bridge to 50 MPH, and certainly reduce the speed on BOTH spans to a much lower speed (preemptively) in the event of an accident on either span at a considerable distance prior to the approaches and/or embankments using a system that can remotely be controlled to turn on as quickly as possible.

2. Install flashing caution signage at reasonably short intervals in the immediate vicinity and on the bridge which specifically alert drivers of temporary lower speed limits due to accident conditions regardless of the visibility of the "Amber Alert" digital signage.

3. Work hard with the local media, civic, and community businesses, etc. to develop hard copy informative, authorized supplemental literature which can be freely distributed around the region in direct mail, mandatory for Duval, St. John's and Clay county driver's ed classes, in awareness campaigns at the Orange Park mall, dog track, and with the issuing of citations around the Buckman Bridge vicinity, etc.

4. Cooperatively erect discrete billboard signage encouraging everybody to be safe when driving over all St. John's River bridge structures.

5. As others mention, develop a law enforcement task force to focus on issuing citations in the direct vicinity of the Buckman Bridge.

Is it unthinkable to develop a clean, quiet monorail system exactly like Disneyworld for the northeast Florida region. Why does the Mouse have the monopoly of safe, clean and very ride-able mass transit. How many monorail rides to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT does it take to realize twenty years ago was the future Walt Disney envisioned for the rest of us? Don't we all deserve to tax Disney in order improve our state? Have they really given ANYTHING back to Florida for all the years of unregulated taxation they impose? There's a great big NOW in that famous Carousel of Progress ride for Jacksonville? My magical dream is to hit Disney with a stiff, undeniable tax on their pixie dust to fund a Disney Monorail system right here in Jacksonville.

I mean...c'mon?!

gunny48.5 07/17/14 - 01:44 pm
Premium Member

Check the cell phone at the

Check the cell phone at the time at the he was on it since he did not "notice" slowing traffic.

CaptA62 07/17/14 - 11:15 am
Premium Member

PD Black you are right the

PD Black you are right the State Attorney office Here is a JOKE they only give out a slap on the wrist for KILLING but if you fire a warning shot at someone not killing anyone they want to send you to JAIL for life:

Anna L OG
Anna L OG 07/17/14 - 10:53 am
Premium Member

PD BLACK RE>>>Jail time>>> I


RE>>>Jail time>>> I doubt it. His driving record is no worse than Mr. Fortuno's and _he_ killed people on two separate occasions on San Jose and got a slap on the wrist and a fine of under a hundred dollars.

Back to Top

Sign up for's morning newsletter and get top stories each morning in your inbox.