“Trucks collide; driver critically hurt”

A fiery collision of two trucks on Florida’s Turnpike early Wednesday left one of the drivers in critical condition with third-degree burns over at least 50 percent of his body.
Marquis Adams, 28, of Miami Gardens was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach and later transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit in Miami, said Lt. Tim Frith, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol.
The second driver, John Massey, 61, of Orlando, was taken to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center with minor injuries, Frith said.
The Florida Highway Patrol was treating the investigation as a traffic homicide “because of the severity of the injuries” of the burned driver, Frith said.
When rescue workers responded to the crash at 4:47 a.m., both trucks were engulfed in flames, according to Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. Don DeLucia.
Investigators determined that the accident occurred at the end of a work shift when Massey, driving a dump truck that trailed a sweeper that cleans debris off the roadway, merged with the sweeper onto the southbound lanes to head home.
Adams, driving a tractor-trailer, also was heading south in the right lane and crashed into the back of Massey’s truck, Frith said. The dump truck’s signal lights were on, he said.
“There was an inability of the semi driver to identify the slower-moving vehicles,” Frith said. “The fire started in the engine compartment and spread through the load of the truck.”
The sweeper driver said he didn’t know exactly what happened. He said he heard a “big boom” and turned to see a fire.
DeLucia said that a caller reported to dispatchers that Adams jumped out of his truck with his legs on fire and Massey doused the flames with an extinguisher, but Frith could not confirm those details.
The blaze charred one trailer Adams was hauling and caused “heavy structural damage” to the road, Frith said.
Southbound lanes reopened around 4 p.m. after crews ripped out the damaged asphalt and replaced it. Northbound lanes reopened around9:30 a.m.
Charges are pending, Frith said.

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