South Florida

Tractor trailer crash causes traffic delays on Turnpike

Fire rescue workers have cleaned up a fuel spill as a result of a crash involving three tractor-trailers and one car this morning in the southbound lanes of Florida's Turnpike near PGA Boulevard.

Lanes in both directions are now open after being closed for hours, according to Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue officials.

It's the second time in a week that area of the turnpike has been shut down due to a major accident early in the morning. Last week, a tractor trailor was hit by a dump truck and caught on fire, leaving one the drivers with third-degree burns and shutting down the turnpike in either direction well into the afternoon rush hour.

Today, around 5:30 a.m., a fuel tank broke off one of the tractor-trailer trucks during the collision spilling about 50 gallons of fuel onto both northbound and southbound lanes of the turnpike. However the spill in the northbound lanes was contained to the shoulder.

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Frith said a series of events unfolded when a truck pulled over on the right southbound shoulder entered the right travel lane in the path of an oncoming UPS truck. The collision broke free a fuel tank on the UPS truck, which then sat in the southbound lanes. Moments later, a red Honda Civic hit the tank and sent it flying into the northbound lanes. A third truck, traveling northbound, tried to avoid the tank and jackknifed.

Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Chief Keith Bryer said that although one of the trucks had a "corrosive" placard, it doesn't seem to have spilled onto the roadway.

The driver of one of the trucks had to be extricated, as the Trauma Hawk chopper rescue team remained on stand by, but the driver was ultimately transported via ground, Bryer said.

One driver was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach and the other to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. There was no immediate information available on their conditions.