Family not giving up on missing father

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A crash on the Mathews Bridge late Friday night has investigators and family members trying to find a missing father of two.

Family members of Vernon Stephens addressed the media to talk about his disappearance a plead for witnesses to come forward.

"This is my only child and I want to know if anybody has seen anything or know anything. That's a big bridge and somebody had to have seen something," said the mother of Stephens, Yvonne Golden.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a car was traveling over the bridge when it hit a broken down vehicle in the outer westbound lane around 11 p.m. The driver of the moving car was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, the release said.

But police said there are no signs of Stephens, 39, the last known driver of the broken down vehicle. The hood of the vehicle was raised when it was struck.

JSO and family members are not sure if Stephens abandoned the vehicle or if he went into the water.

" We ask that if you saw something on the bridge or that you were on the bridge that night that you let the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office know," said Stephens' wife Andrea.

JSO's Air Unit and Marine Units searched the water for Stephens, police said Saturday. On Sunday family and friends formed their own search party. The group met at Arlington Marina and set out on boats to search the waters of the St. Johns River for the Washington D.C native.

Coast Guard crews from Station Mayport and Air Station Savannah joined JSO Saturday in the search that was suspended around 3 p.m. The Coast Guard says it will resume the search if there are any new developments.

Meanwhile Stephens family members are gathering at his home in Atlantic Beach.

Out of town family members were coming into town tonight from as far away as Tennessee. Like authorities, they are wondering just what happened to their loved one and holding out hope he could be found alive somewhere.

Stay with First Coast News on air and online as we bring you the latest on this developing story.


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