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Fatal Head-On I-95 Wreck Kills 2, Injures 3

Posted on July 18, 2008

Driving south in the northbound lane of I-95 at 3 a.m., a St. Augustine woman was killed when she collided head-on with an SUV carrying a South Carolina family.

Rachel Higgins, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene.  

She leaves behind a 13-year old daughter. Family members tell First Coast News  she was the light of Higgins’; life.

Higgins worked as an optician in St. Augustine. Her daughter and parents were out of town at the time of the crash.

It happened early Thursday morning on I-95 between International Golf Parkway and StateRoad 16. 

The other fatality was a woman in the SUV, passenger Debra Baughman, 45. The SUV driver, Scott Baughman, 44 and 19-year-old Lindsey Baughman were injured but in fair condition at Shands-Jacksonville Hospital.  13-year-old Aaron Baughman was in critical condition at Shands. 

The Baughman family was on their way to Fleming Island in the Jacksonville, Florida area to visit relatives.

The Florida Highway Patrol has no idea why Higgins was driving south in the northbound I-95.

But it’;s happened too often before.

In the past year there were two other crashes involving drivers traveling the wrong-way on I-95 in St. Johns County. Another was also in the International Golf Parkway area.

In that case, one year ago, a man was traveling north in the southbound lane when he hit an SUV around midnight. Two people died.

Then last December, a car traveling north in the southbound lane hit a van on I-95 about a mile south of CR-210. Four people were injured.

It is amazing from the video that not more people were killed. 

FHP speculates the heavy rain at the time may have had something to do with it. Obviously, visibility is a problem along this major stretch of the Florida Interstate.

“We’;re still trying to determine where she may have got on the wrong way and how long she’;d been there,” FHP Lt. Bill Leeper tells Channel 4.  “It was bad. When you have someone traveling on the wrong side of the road, the motorist traveling in the right direction doesn’;t expect that.”

FHP will also look into alcohol as a factor.

This was the worst wreck in about a year on I-95.

Unfortunately no one in either vehicle was wearing a seat belt.  Who knows if the outcomes might have been different.