Passenger killed, driver rescued when truck dangles off highway in Fort Lauderdale

02/06/2013 7:10 AM

02/06/2013 7:59 PM

The call came in at 5:35 a.m.: A bakery truck on its way to make a delivery was dangling off an Interstate 95 overpass; it looked as if it could topple at any second.

When Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue arrived on the scene early Wednesday, they found two people trapped inside — one alive and one dead.

Within two hours, the truck’s driver, 53-year-old Buenaventura Fernandez Jr., of Miami, was on his way to Broward Health Medical Center. He had only minor injuries and was released later in the day.

The name of his passenger was not released pending notification of next of kin.

The accident happened when the 2001 Isuzu delivery truck belonging to Tracy Bakery attempted to take the westbound ramp to State Road 84 from northbound I-95. The truck hit the barrier wall, according to Fort Lauderdale Police Department, which is investigating the accident.

To save Fernandez from the dangling truck, rescuers first had to make sure his vehicle was secure. If it wasn’t, Fernandez, other drivers and members of the rescue team would all be in danger.

Once it was safe, firefighters used a ladder truck parked below to reach Fernandez. They could not reach the dead passenger, who was pinned inside the truck.

With two tow trucks (one lifting up and one pulling back simultaneously), they hoisted the vehicle back onto the road way and only then could remove the body.

Traffic was held up throughout the day Wednesday, as Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Transportation officials cleaned up the debris and checked the structure for stability.

The damaged wall was repaired Wednesday and traffic has been “running smoothly,” said FHP spokesman Mark Wysocky.

Buenaventura could not be reached, nor could his family members. He works for Tracy Bakery in Palmetto Bay, which sells wholesale frozen baked goods.

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