Melissa Hicks Nault, 38, of Callahan, died on Thursday night, February 27, after being struck by a car on US 301.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officials say the accident happened near Janes Lane. Nault was driving behind a Toyota 4Runner that came upon two horses standing in the southbound lane. The 4Runner’s driver was unable to stop in time and hit the horses. Nault stopped her car and got out in an effort to help. She was then hit by a Kia Forte that was driving by, which then overturned, striking one of the horses and Nault’s car.
Nault was later pronounced dead. Her 15-year-old daughter, a passenger in the car, was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, and then released.
Friends remember Nault as a kind person who would drop everything to help others.
“When I read the story I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s Mellisa.’ It was just tragic that she’s helping somebody, and then an accident,” said Theresa Blair, a longtime friend.
Accidents caused by wildlife, like deer or alligators, are estimated to cause between 725,000 and 1.5 million car accidents each year in the US. However, the situation is more complicated when large farm animals like horses and cows get loose and wander into a road. These animals don’t typically roam around in the wild, and when they cause an accident, it may be due to the negligence of a farm owner or worker. People who own or work with horses should be careful to keep them secured in a properly fenced area.
Drivers also need to be careful when they see an accident scene of any kind, or simply a car stopped on the side of the road. Often motorists get out of their cars after an accident or breakdown, and it’s important for other drivers to proceed slowly to avoid accidentally hitting someone.
Nault left behind a husband and two children. Her family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.