Two big-rigs were involved in a fiery collision the early hours of Tuesday, January 12, 2010, shutting down the Florida Turnpike under the Boggy Creek overpass in Kissimmee, Florida. The crash caused a huge fire when it erupted around 12:30 a.m. filling up the space under the bridge as the flames shot up into the air.
The first vehicle was a Target store delivery big-rig. The driver and passenger in that truck were injured, and are hospitalized with serious injuries. Their survival was amazing considering the cab of the truck was engulfed in fire. Troopers say the fire might have actually started when the refrigeration unit that keeps food cool inside the trailer, was damaged. The food inside the Target truck was a complete loss, along with the cab of the truck.
A Good Samaritan jumped out of his vehicle and helped save the occupants of the first truck. We wish the drivers a swift recovery and are thankful that their injuries were not more serious.
So what happened here? The Florida Highway Patrol says that it appears an 18-wheeler in front of the Target truck blew a tire and was hit in the rear by the Target big-rig. Then a third big-rig hit debris from the initial crash and also sustained damage to its fuel system. Traffic was closed both northbound and southbound and was reopened just after 6 a.m. while crews cleaned up a 200-gallon diesel fuel spill caused by the crash.
The Orlando Sentinel reported the next day that damages to the Boggy Creek Road overpass are estimated to be about $300,000.
The Dangers of Semi Tractor-Trailers
In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 11,674 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.
Nearly one-quarter of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 had at least one prior speeding conviction, as did 18 percent of passenger car drivers.
263 people lost their lives in 2008 in Florida collisions with a large truck, a number that has been in decline since 2004.
While one story talks about a tire blown, the FHP in this case is charging one of the semi-tractor trailer drivers with making an improper lane change. He was driving on the southbound shoulder when he suddenly pulled into the southbound lanes of the Turnpike, when he was struck by the second driver whose semi was sent into the center of the road, striking the guard rail and coming to rest at the Boggy Creek Road overpass where it burst into flames.
That’s when the third semi got involved.
A Florida Highway Patrol investigation is underway and in this case, it will take a skilled team of investigators to determine the true cause of the tractor trailer crash. It is likely that the insurance company for the first semi will be charged with the cost of repairs.
This is the second fiery crash on the Florida turnpike involving a semi and an overpass in less than one month.
In both cases, I would like to know from the truck driving records, log books and any black box recorder onboard whether the truck driver complied with state and federal laws in regard to driving time, rest and the maintenance of the vehicle.