Clay County man dies from injuries in fiery crash; man accused now charged with vehicular homicide

·3 min read

UPDATE, 8/24/2022: Clifford Ringer is now facing a charge of vehicular homicide.

His bond was set at $260,006 on August 15.

Ringer is due in court again on September 12.

Video of the story as it originally aired on 8/11/2022 is posted above.

Original story from 8/11/2022 below:

A young Clay County driver has died as a result of his injuries from a fiery crash in April.

Florida Highway Patrol is beginning the process of investigating this crash as a traffic homicide.

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The victim, 23-year-old Gavin Conroy, was described by his family as a “light in every room.”

“It didn’t matter what was going on, if Gavin was there, I could look at him and I just felt calm,” Donna Conroy, Gavin’s mother, said.

He was Donna Conroy’s firstborn. She said he was always caring and responsible. He was also the firstborn grandson on both sides of his family.

“He always lit up the way for everybody,” Corey Whitlatch, Gavin’s uncle, said.

On April 14, 2022, Gavin Conroy was heading to work at Outback Steakhouse. He was rear-ended while sitting at the red light at the intersection of Wells Road and Debarry Avenue.

A crash report from FHP reveals that 40-year-old Clifford Ringer did not stop for the light, hitting Conroy, who then collided with two other cars. The 23-year-old’s fuel tank ruptured and engulfed his car, burning approximately 90% of his body.

“He had both of his lungs completely collapse on Mother’s Day morning,” Donna Conroy said. “He lost fingers. He lost both of his legs, his nose, and his ears. He has been through it. He fought.”

Gavin Conroy spent four months in the intensive care unit before passing away Wednesday.

“He’s 23, and we now have to say our goodbyes and bury him,” Stacie Whitlatch, Gavin’s aunt, said. “We shouldn’t have to do that.”

Ringer was deemed responsible for the crash, according to the FHP crash report. He was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash, according to an arrest report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Action News Jax found this is not the first time Ringer has been in trouble. We found 34 mug shots through the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, all belonging to Ringer throughout the years.

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His arrests span decades, with charges ranging from driving under the influence to possession of drugs, disorderly intoxications, leaving the scene of an incident, and careless driving.

“This person is a danger on the road,” Donna Conroy said. “He has proven for the last three decades that he is a danger on the road.”

Ringer is currently in jail with no bond on charges of careless driving and driving with a suspended license. His next court date is Aug. 15.

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FHP is reinvestigating the case.

Gavin Conroy’s family is hosting a fundraiser at the Harley Davidson on Wells Road in Orange Park on Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can also help his family and learn more about Conroy’s story HERE.

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