Two people are dead and one was airlifted to Miami in critical condition after a truck collided with a car at mile marker 87 of U.S. 1 in front of Founders Park early Friday afternoon.
The crash involved a 2005 Infinity G37 and a 2005 International brand landscaping truck. Two bodies covered by white sheets lay on gurneys beside the mangled wreckage of the car on U.S. 1, while Monroe County’s Trauma Star helicopter ambulance landed in the field of Founders Park on the bay side of the highway to ferry the survivor to the mainland for treatment at around 1:30 p.m.
The injured person, a 31-year-old man who was a passenger in the backseat of the Infinity, was taken to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. The victims identities were not released at press time pending notice of next of kin, but the Florida Highway Patrol said in a press release that they are from Miami Gardens.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol press release, the driver of the Infinity, a 52-year-old man, pulled out from the Old Highway on the ocean side into the path of the International, which was traveling northbound on U.S. 1. The truck collided with the driver’s side of the Infinity. The car came to a final stop in the center turning lane of U.S. 1. The car driver and female front seat passenger died at the scene.
The truck driver and passenger — Yaimel Hernandez Masquiel, 35, and Milton Jesus Zelaya Ramirez, 27 — were not seriously injured.
The crash backed up traffic for miles in each direction on U.S. 1. Firefighters with Islamorada Fire-Rescue and officers with the Florida Highway Patrol, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to the scene.
At least 22 people have died in vehicle crashes in Monroe County so far this year. Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kathleen McKinney said Friday’s crash is the 19th case the department has investigated since January. Last year, a total of 18 people died on the Overseas Highway, McKinney said. These fatalities do not include those who died in Key West.
Alyson Crean, spokeswoman for the City of Key West Police Department, said there have been seven traffic fatalities in the Southernmost City so far this year. One more person died in a head-on crash on Caroline Street last week, but Crean said that case has not yet been determined to be a traffic fatality.
The FHP will handle the crash investigation.