A drunk driver crashed into a law enforcement couple in St. Johns County, Florida, according to reports. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Bailiff Cathy Adams reportedly died in the crash, while Deputy William Adams was seriously injured.
The crash took place at around 1:15 a.m. on Interstate 95 and SR-16 while the family was driving home from a sporting event, WLTV reported.
A second vehicle crashed into the family’s car as they were driving down the road. Both were left critically wounded in the accident, and WLTV said that Cathy Adams had been mortally wounded and is being kept on life support until her organs can be donated.
First Coast News later reported that Cathy Adams died on the night of Dec. 9.
William Adams suffered a broken neck in the collision and he’s in the intensive care unit in critical condition.
Their teen children, aged 14 and 16, suffered minor injuries, the report said.
Kim Johnston, the allegedly drunk driver, was charged with driving under the influence with serious bodily injury to another person. More charges are likely in the case.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sent out a message on Twitter: “Two of our employees, a police officer and sworn bailiff were involved in a serious traffic crash in another county early this morning. @FHPJacksonville handled the investigation. Our prayers are with our JSO family.” They also asked for prayers for the family.
News crews in the area who sent reporters to the Adams’ home were asked to leave the family alone by the sheriff’s office.
“We are aware of media sitting in front of their home. They are requesting you to leave and leave them alone at this time,” the office wrote on Twitter.
Other details about the crash are not clear.
US Traffic Deaths Down Overall in 2018
U.S. traffic deaths fell 3.1 percent in the first six months of 2018, according to preliminary figures released in October, Reuters reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 2017 traffic deaths fell by 1.8 percent to 37,133 after traffic deaths rose sharply in the previous two years, according to final figures.
The U.S. traffic fatality rate fell to 1.08 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for the first half of 2018. The fatality rate in 2017 was 1.16 million deaths per 100 million miles traveled—the second highest rate since 2008.
“This is good news and bad news,” said Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, CNBC reported. “The total number of fatalities is not getting worse, but the situation is not getting better.”
Hersman cited distracted driving and higher speed limits for the number.
“There are a number of states that have raised speed limits, some now have stretches at 80 or 85 miles per hour,” she said in the CNBC report. In Texas, for example, she estimated that traffic fatalities jumped 7 percent from 2015 to 2017, in part due to higher speed limits in the state. “We know it’s happening even though distracted driving data is hard to come by,” she said of drivers using smartphones while behind the wheel. “Police reports on accidents often don’t report if the driver was distracted and in many accidents, people don’t self-report themselves.”