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Part of I-295 officially named after fallen JSO officer Lance Whitaker

Officer Lance Whitaker's family removed the veil revealing his highway sign on Monday.

A special memorial happened this morning to honor a fallen Jacksonville police officer. Officer Lance Whitaker died last May after losing control of his patrol car and crashing while responding to a call in wet roadway conditions.

The stretch of I-295 between Alta Drive and Pulaski road will now be known as Officer Lance Christian Whitaker Highway. 

Whitaker had been with JSO for 17 years and worked at the Atlantic Beach Police Department before that, so a good chunk of his life had been dedicated to serving this community. 

That's what made Steve Zona with the Fraternal Order of Police, Senator Audrey Gibson and Representative Tracie Davis decide the community should do something for him. 

Senator Gibson says after some pushing in Tallahassee, they were able to honor Whitaker by naming a portion of I-295 after him.

On Monday, the ramp at Alta drive was shut down for the unveiling, surrounded by Whitaker's fellow officers, Sheriff Mike Williams, Senator Gibson, Representative Davis, Councilman Al Ferrero, and Whitaker's family.

Whitaker's family didn't want to speak with the media but looked very grateful to have their loved one commemorated. They also received Officer Lance Christian Whitaker Highway signs of their own to take home with them.

'We're more than honored to designate this highway on behalf of Officer Lance Whitaker, who was coming to help someone else," said Senator Gibson, referencing Whitaker's final moments.

"We would just like to thank the family for allowing us to borrow this 17-year veteran that did so much as far as sacrifice and service," Representative Davis said.

The highway sign was posted on I-295 EB near the Alta Drive exit.