Auto Accident with Tanker Causes Florida Turnpike Closure

On Monday, September 14, a gas tanker on the Florida Turnpike crashed with a van near Okeechobee Road, causing the tanker to overturn. The auto accident occurred on the southbound lanes at about 2:30 a.m. The Turnpike was closed for about nine hours.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the van was pulled over on the side of the road due to a flat tire, reported. The tanker tried to swerve to avoid the vehicle, but in doing so jackknifed, causing the tanker to overturn.

Both the driver of the van, Emilio Martinez-Rodriguez, and tanker’s driver were taken to the hospital. Due to the accident, Martinez-Rodriguez was launched out of the vehicle and suffered serious injury. The tanker contained 9,000 gallons of gas, so fire rescue sprayed foam on the spill to prevent ignition. The truck was finally moved from the road at about noon, after fire crews emptied the gasoline from the tanker.

According to the Miami Herald, because the valves which are normally used to empty the tanker were damaged, the emptying process was more difficult. Crews had to drill through metal while pouring water on the site to prevent fire or sparks from causing an explosion.

The area had to be inspected by environmental experts to determine the safety of the road. If the gas cannot evaporate quickly and soil needs to be dug up, further delays on the Turnpike will be required.