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‘Lucky to be alive’: Truck crash on U.S. 27 destroys two big rigs, spares drivers

The drivers of two tractor trailers involved in a crash on U.S. 27 Thursday morning survived the flaming accident with minor injuries. However, the dog of one of the drivers died after escaping from the mangled cab of his owner’s truck and running into traffic, killed by a passing car.

The fiery accident closed a stretch of the West Broward highway for hours as crew put out the flames and cleared the wreckage. The northbound lanes opened in time for the morning rush, and the southbound lanes opened at about 3 p.m. in time for the afternoon rush.

Rafael Ferrer Rodriguez, 48, from Homestead was driving south on U.S. 27 at about 4 a.m., just north of Griffin Road, when he pulled over to check his tires. Rodriguez moved to the shoulder of the two-lane highway, which has a narrow paved stopping area that extends into a grassy slope. Unable to park completely off the road, Rodriguez stepped out to put an emergency signal near the rear of his trailer.

As he went to the back of the truck, he saw another tractor-trailer speeding toward him in the right lane of highway, which has a 65 mph speed limit.

Jose Soto Perez, 27, of Wimauma, Fla., was driving south when he struck the left side of Rodriguez’s stationary trailer, and both semis burst into flames. The parked trailer swung to the west side of the road, hitting Rodriguez. He only suffered minor injuries.

As both trucks came to a stop, smoke filled the roadway, which is near the Weston exit.

The driver of the truck that hit Rodriguez’s parked rig, left the mangled cab before Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue arrived. His disoriented dog also escaped, running to the side of the road in shock. Another car not involved in the crash stuck the dog and it died immediately.

Perez was taken to Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale and was treated and released for minor injuries. Rodriguez refused to be taken to the hospital and stayed at the crash scene as the Broward Sheriff’s Office investigated.

“It had the makings of being much worse,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles. “Both men are very lucky to be alive.”

No citations have been issued so far, according to Broward Sheriff’s Office.