Sunday, March 3

Tractor-trailer drivers have advice for others on road following fiery crash on Florida’s Turnpike

Following Friday morning’s fiery fuel tanker crash on Florida’s Turnpike, WPTV spoke with truckers about the risks they encounter on the job.

Experienced drivers of semis said they had a message for other drivers.

Mauricio Caldero, who has been driving big rigs for 20 years, said it’s a scary reality, but these wrecks can happen at any moment.

“I’ve seen too many accidents,” Caldero said. “I mean, it’s the job. You have to see a lot of factors. It could be a mistake on the driver, it could be a car he tried to prevent an accident.”

Jheano Louis, who is also a trucker, learned about the serious wreck, which shut down the Turnpike for several hours.

“My thoughts, of course, was the driver OK and if everybody else was OK?” Louis said.

He said fuel tankers are harder to drive and require CDL training.

“Because the fluid, the liquid, that’s in the tank,” Louis said, “it moves the truck from time to time, so even if a person was trying to slow down or stop, it’s going to give it a little extra push.”

He said hearing about these crashes makes him nervous.

“I get it’s a job, but also man it’s us risking our life just to make sure everybody is able to get the things that they need,” Louis said.

Both of the semi drivers said they had a few reminders for other drivers.

“Respect truckers. People think that it’s a big truck, big breaks, everything, that it’s going to stop faster, no,” Caldero said.

“Be mindful of just knowing that we’re in a truck, and we’re not really able to maneuver like (a smaller vehicle),” Louis said.

Waterways not impacted by tanker crash, FDEP says

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) responded to Friday’s fuel tanker crash. The agency said they applied absorbent materials and vacuumed the spilled fuel off the roadway.

FDEP said the storm drain in the area discharges to an area of soil along the Turnpike and away from nearby water, so no waterways or wetlands were impacted.

The agency also said that any soil impacted by the fuel that was discharged from the storm drain is being excavated.

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