Florida Keys

A bloody stretch on the road as 6 people in 3 crashes airlifted from Keys

Islamorada Fire-Rescue crews had to cut a Miami woman out of her 1999 Honda Civic that was hit head-on by another car at mile marker 70 Sunday night, March 26.
Islamorada Fire-Rescue crews had to cut a Miami woman out of her 1999 Honda Civic that was hit head-on by another car at mile marker 70 Sunday night, March 26.

Six people in three separate vehicle crashes were flown by the county’s air ambulance to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami since Sunday night.

On top of the vehicle crash victims, Monroe County’s two Trauma Star helicopters flew a Big Pine Key stabbing victim to the mainland trauma hospital Sunday, and emergency air crews transported a person to Ryder who suffered a serious head injury after falling out of bed in Key Largo Monday morning, said Deputy Becky Herrin, the Sheriff’s Office media relations officer.

Gravel truck overturns

Around 10 a.m. Monday, a dump truck hauling gravel overturned while driving southbound on U.S. 1 at mile marker 97.8. According to the Florida Highway Patrol’s incident report, the truck’s driver, Juan M. Amigo Sidron, veered into the left-hand shoulder after colliding with the left side of a 2010 Honda Accord driven by Emmyllye Rodriguez-Lopez, 25, of Miami, who drove in front of the truck from the outside lane, trying to make an abrupt left turn into the Tom Thumb gas station.

Sidron’s truck tipped on its right side, spilling gravel onto the highway. Rodriguez-Lopez’s car also ended up on the left shoulder, before crashing into the back of a Freightliner tractor trailer that was improperly parked on the paved bike path, according to the FHP report. A Trauma Star chopper flew her to Ryder, county spokeswoman Cammy Clark said.

Long Key head-on

Sunday night at 7:10 p.m., Monroe County Fire-Rescue first responders had to cut Miami resident Amanda Ptak, 27, out of her 1999 Honda Civic after it was hit head-on by a 2015 Nissan Altima driven by Cornelius McClain, 42, from Atlanta, Ga. According to an FHP report, McClain was driving northbound at mile marker 70 on U.S. 1, when he crossed the solid yellow line and drifted into the southbound lane, colliding with Ptak’s car.

A Trauma Star crew flew Ptak, McClain and McClain’s passenger, Angela Pedraza, 37, of Decatur, Ga., to Ryder, where they were listed as of Monday in serious, but stable condition, according to FHP Lt. Kathleen McKinney. McClain faces a charge of “failure to use a single lane.”

U.S. 1 was closed in both directions for about 45 minutes while the injured were treated and the crash investigated. It didn’t fully reopen for 90 minutes.

Motorcycle wreck

At 6 p.m. Sunday, Timothy Meade, 43, and Lauren Litman, 29, both of Key West, were flown to Ryder after Meade crashed his 1996 Harley Davidson motorcycle into the mangroves on Old State Road 4A on Sugarloaf Key. An FHP report states Meade lost control of the bike rounding a bend in the road. Litman was Meade’s passenger.

Charges are pending, McKinney said.

Busiest day for Trauma Star

Victims of the Sugarloaf and Long Key crashes were taken to Ryder on Monroe County’s two Trauma Star helicopters, Clark said. Between the wrecks and the Big Pine Key stabbing, the Trauma Star program experienced its busiest day in its nearly 16-year history on Sunday, Clark said.

Trauma Star is a joint operation of Monroe County Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Each helicopter crew consists of a pilot, flight medic and flight nurse.

“A day like Sunday shows how important Trauma Star is to the residents and visitors of the Florida Keys,” Monroe County Fire Rescue’s Andrea Thompson, captain of Trauma Star and Emergency Medical Services, said in a statement. “I want to thank our flight crews for doing such an amazing job.”