A memorial of flowers and balloons was growing Wednesday at the intersection of Oakleaf Plantation Parkway and Cecil Commerce Center Parkway, where a crash Monday afternoon took the life of an 8-year-old boy.
Angel Rios was pronounced dead at Orange Park Medical Center hours after the crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The boy's mother and 9-year-old sister suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Troopers said Rios’ mother was making a left turn from Oakleaf Plantation Parkway onto Cecil Commerce Center Parkway (State Road 23) when a red Toyota SUV going straight through on Argyle Forest Boulevard hit the passenger side of the family's car.
According to the FHP, charges in the crash are pending.
Late Tuesday afternoon – about 24 hours after the crash – Florida Department of Transportation crews began making changes to the traffic signals at the intersection, adding a dedicated left-turn signal that changes from red to green.
Data provided by the FHP showed there have been 36 crashes in or immediately around that intersection so far this year. Seven of those crashes resulted in injuries, with four others listed as having possible injuries.
Before the signal was changed, a long line of traffic waited to turn, which, along with traffic barrels in the intersection, could make it difficult to see cars’ coming straight through the light from the other direction.
Neighbors and motorists told News4Jax they have complained about the intersection to FDOT for months and were pleased when traffic engineers determined the changes were needed.
Neighbors and businesses in the area are also reaching out to the victim’s family, offering any help they might need.
"Their family is amazed at the amount of love and support that the community, in addition to strangers, have given them," said Naomi Hart, a neighbor of the Rios family. "All we can remember are smiles and laughter. I can't remember anything else."
A GoFundMe account has been set up for expenses for the Rios family, and a car wash benefit for the family is planned from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at NYC Meatballs & Pizzeria in Oakleaf.
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