Man killed chasing his dog that broke free from leash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Westside man was hit and killed by car just outside his front door while trying to catch his dog "Jessie" that broke free from her leash.

The accident happened in the 8500 block of Nussbaum Drive Tuesday night. 34 year-old Joseph Willbanks was the victim.

Jennifer Bell said her boyfriend was walking his dog like he does every night before going to work when "Jessie" got off the leash and darted into the street.

"He went to get the dog and they hit him and he flew over into that yard," said Bell who noted her 10 year-old daughter saw everything.

James Willbanks says he did not sleep at all last night after learning of his son's death.

"I was in shock all night," he said outside his son's home.

"From what I understand they were drag racing up and down the street," said the elder Willbanks speaking on what he learned from neighbors and friends.

JSO only confirms that the man driving the car was a neighbor of the victim. Family of the victim says two vehicles were removed from the accident scene.

No arrests have been made nor are police commenting on whether speed or drag racing was involved. Traffic homicide is working the incident.

The family tells First Coast News the dog is OK.


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