A motorcyclist traveling east just before the morning rush hour Tuesday on one of South Florida’s busiest causeways hit a scooter, then careened into a fisherman, killing all three people involved in the crash and causing one of the worst traffic jams in Miami-Dade County in years.
The 4:30 a.m. accident on the Julia Tuttle Causeway closed down the bridge eastbound — from Biscayne Boulevard to Miami Beach — and created backups well into the morning rush hour on Interstate 95 all the way north to Broward County and on State Road 112 west to Miami International Airport.
An alternate route, eastbound State Road 836 leading into the MacArthur Causeway, was backed up for miles.
Even surrounding streets were overflowing with cars. In Northeast Miami, where a stretch of 36th Street already is closed for construction, cars were at a standstill on Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast Second Avenue and Miami Avenue into late morning.
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The eastbound Tuttle, which spans from 36th Street in Miami to 41st Street in Miami Beach, remained closed through the morning, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Yosdany Veloz. The lanes reopened after 11 a.m.
According to FHP spokesman Jose Sanchez, a motorcycle traveling east crashed into an eastbound scooter, and then “the motorcycle collided into an individual fishing on the bridge” well before sunrise.
By Tuesday afternoon, FHP identified the driver of the scooter as Erik Lau, 24, of Hialeah, and the fisherman as Daryl Williams, 30, of Miami Gardens. The motorcyclist had not been identified, because his family had not yet been notified.
Williams was taken to a hospital, where he later died, Sanchez said. The other two died on the causeway.
“We can confirm there are three fatalities,” Sanchez said.
Westbound lanes on the Tuttle remained open through the morning.
Sanchez said the crash occurred on “the first bridge, the east bridge, the one before Alton Road.’’
He said marine police and law enforcement agencies swept the area, including the water, to determine no one else was involved or injured.