Mandarin teacher killed in I-95 crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Mandarin Middle School teacher was killed in a crash Saturday morning.

Julie Shepherd, 57, was killed when she allegedly lost control of her black Toyota SUV and crashed into a Chevy Camaro heading northbound on Interstate 95, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Shepherd's SUV and the sports car driven by 29-year-old Brian Bradley, both went into the shoulder and hit a guardrail.

Shepherd was a veteran seventh grade civics and social studies teacher at Mandarin Middle School.

The Duval County School District has a crisis team and extra counselors at the school providing students and staff with grief counseling.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Real ways to help you find a job and other resources

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shawntray from the Westside asked the On Your Side team a question.

He said he recently lost his job as a security guard because he was sick and can't find work. Shawntray said he lost his home and he's afraid he'll lose his car. He wants help.

Shawntray, here is what you do:

1) Get your hands on a phone in the area of Northeast Florida and dial the United Way's 211. It is a referral source that will refer you to places for emergency financial assistance, food, shelter and clothing and a lot of other service.

2) Call the company that you make car payments and explain your situation. Ask if some payments can be deferred.

3) Go to a place like WorkSource Florida. They have offices across the region They will help you or anyone looking for work Find a job. Call 904-356-JOBS for more information.

Foreclosure help still available in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Letitia Early, 51, lost her job in January 2008 and her ability to pay the mortgage on her home. But Early said she never lost her hope.

"I limped along and used my savings," she said, "Everything I had to make my payments."

She was doing everything to save the home she called her forever home.

"This was going to be my forever home for my disabled son and I," she said.

She was determined, but was struggling, and turned to the Making Home Affordable program for help. But the federal mortgage modification program application must still be approved by the bank and that was a problem.

"In November 2010, I actually received a rejection letter from Bank of America saying 'you did not qualify,'" said Early, "after I had provided all the information they wanted for two years."

Teen orphaned after fatal accident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rabbi Yaakove Fisch said he was the one who had tell teenager Orly that her mom, Esther Ohayon, 57, died at the scene of an accident Friday night.

The condition of the 16-year-old girl hit at San Jose and Haley is improving, and her Rabbi is working to create change at the crosswalk where she was struck, but breaking the news was tough for Fisch. 

"It was obviously one of the hardest things I've ever done, probably the hardest thing," said Rabbi Fisch. 

Orly was in critical condition at UF Health up until Sunday when her status became stable. Even though she's recovering from the accident and dealing with the loss of her mother, Rabbi Fisch says she is staying strong.  

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

San Jose solutions on the table for discussion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Mandarin community is a step closer making changes at the crosswalk on San Jose Boulevard and Haley Road where a woman was killed Friday.

Several options for the crosswalk were discussed between Rabbi Yaakove Fisch and the Department of Transportation Tuesday, although no decisions have been made, Fisch says there is hope.

About 60 families with young children cross the San Jose Boulevard and Haley Road crosswalk for temple every week at the Etz Chaim Synagogue, according to Rabbi Fisch. 

"Many of these families have young children, so keep in mind as long as it takes for a pedestrian to walk across the street. with young children it's that much longer," said Fisch. 

Man who struck, killed 6-year old also struck pair in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local family is reliving the horror of a 2009 pedestrian accident that claimed the life of their 6-year-old daughter.

Dena and Tony Grossie learned that four years after 66-year-old Michael Fortunato struck and killed Kaitlyn Springer, he allegedly struck two other pedestrians less than a mile from where their daughter was hit.

"It makes me sick to my stomach that somebody else has lost their life by the same person," said Dena Grossie.

Four Christmases have come and gone since 6-year-old Kaitlyn was killed. 

"I'm still trying to cope with it. My daughter would have been 10 and just to think what she would have been like and those years that I've missed, that I could have had with her, just by somebody being impatient and not paying attention," said Grossie.

It was December 19, 2009.

Orange Park Community Theatre Performance Benefits Area’s Abused, Abandoned and Neglected Children

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Orange Park Community Theatre on Sept. 26 will present a special performance of the play “Hotbed Hotel” by Michael Parker with all proceeds going to help local children in crisis.

Proceeds from the event will go directly to Voices for Children of the First Coast, a nonprofit organization that helps kids through the Guardian ad Litem program for the Fourth Circuit, including Clay, Duval and Nassau counties. The Guardian ad Litem program provides trained volunteers to represent the best interests of neglected and abused children as such cases go through the court system.

When: Thursday, Sept. 26 | Refreshments available at 7 p.m. and the play begins at 8 p.m.