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Two killed in two separate accidents Tuesday morning

This story has been updated with information on the Heckscher Drive accident from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Two separate crashes on A1A Tuesday morning – one on Heckscher Drive near the Browns Creek Bridge in Jacksonville and one on the south end of Amelia Island near the McArthur-Fishler Bridge – killed two Fernandina Beach residents and closed all lanes of traffic for hours as law enforcement and fire and rescue responders attempted to help the injured and clear the scenes.

The crash on Heckscher Drive at Blount Island Boulevard, near the Browns Creek Fish Camp, involved multiple vehicles, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol. A grey Toyota Tacoma truck being driven east by Irin Bennett, 48, of Fernandina Beach, entered the westbound lane about 8:25 a.m. and hit a black GMC SUV head-on. The SUV, being driven by Anna Merkel, 32, of Jacksonville, was then rear-ended by a white Isuzu box truck being driven by Stewart Pearson, 44, of Hilliard, according to the FHP report. Bennett was killed in the accident. FHP says he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Merkel was taken to UF Health Jacksonville hospital with serious injuries, and her one-year-old child passenger was reported as uninjured by the FHP. Pearson was also uninjured and his passenger, Ishkan Gabrielyan, 37, of Orange Park, was also reported by the FHP as uninjured. All adults were wearing seatbelts. The child was in a child restraint seat.

The crash on Amelia Island near the bridge crossing Nassau Sound was reported to have happened at 7:05 a.m. and was also head-on, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol. In the Nassau County accident, a grey 2014 Dodge Journey being driven north by Nathan Doss, 36, of Jacksonville, crossed the dividing line on A1A for an unknown reason and hit a 2017 Mazda 6 being driven by a 47-year-old woman from Fernandina Beach, according to the FHP. The vehicles came to rest blocking the southbound lane of A1A. Both drivers in that accident were wearing seatbelts. The identity of the driver killed in that accident is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Doss was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with serious injuries.

This story will be updated.

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