For the third consecutive day, a fatal early morning crash exacerbated the Palmetto Expressway’s stomach-tightening morning rush hour traffic.
Thursday’s fatal crash occurred in the State Road 826 southbound lanes between Okeechobee Road and Northwest 74th Street and caused all southbound traffic to be diverted to Okeechobee Road until almost 7 a.m. And it was the second of a two-crash mess that easily could’ve cost more lives than that of 57-year-old Lizardo Alvarez of Hialeah.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, Miami-Dade firefighters dealing with a hit-and-run crash used their truck to block the two farthest left lanes of traffic. Alvarez, in the second lane from the left, plunged the front of his 2014 Hyundai Sonata into the right rear of the truck. The Sonata continued to roll into the next lane to the right. Alvarez was already dead.
“If this vehicle wasn’t in the position it was in, blocking the traffic for the oncoming, we could have had some fatalities out here with the firefighters,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Ernie Jillson.
Lanes reopened around 7 a.m. The person Miami-Dade was trying to help was taken to Ryder Trauma Center.
In Miami-Dade County, Alvarez hadn’t received a moving violation ticket since 2013, but from 1985-2013 racked up 38 such citations. Most were dismissed, but Alvarez was assessed $1,608 in fines. He died owing $314 on a 1985 speeding violation.
Wednesday morning, a crash on the eastbound Palmetto and the Golden Glades closed two exits for hours and worsened traffic at that end of State Road 826. Traffic was backed up past Red Road, which was near Tuesday morning’s fatality.