A semi driver remains hospitalized in critical condition today after his truck exploded following a collision with a guardrail Friday on I-75 in Pasco County, Florida.
Eddy Quintana Perez, 69, of Cape Coral, Fla. has burns over 40 percent of his body, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Perez had been heading north on I-75 Friday afternoon when a witness, who recorded the accident, said Perez’ truck began swerving before striking a guardrail and bursting into flames. (Please be advised that the second video posted below, which shows raw footage of the accident, contains graphic language).
“I was like, ‘I’m going to record this,’ because it was insane,” Devon Whitaker told wfla.com. “He’s going off the road two times. Left lane, right lane, off the road. I was like, ‘no way, he’s going to hit somebody.’”
Whitaker and his co-workers immediately pulled over following the explosion which occurred after the fuel tank ruptured, according to baynews9.com.
“At that point we stopped, we’re twenty feet away from where he hit. I got out of the truck to try and get the guy out of the truck, but I didn’t think he was alive at that moment,” Whitaker said. “The smoke cloud was three stories in the air and it was probably thirty or forty feet wide, just flames and then black smoke.”
The truck driver was taken to a local hospital where Florida Highway Patrol said he was listed in critical condition. The truck appeared to be hauling airport ramp vehicles, according to wfla.com.
The accident caused major traffic jams in both directions of I-75 for hours. Whitaker and his crew, who work for Park and Play Constructors in Osteen, Fla., were heading to a job in Spring Hill, Fla. at the time of the accident. Though they didn’t make it to that job, they’re grateful and amazed no one else was injured.
“One little mistake and any of these vehicles could cause a major accident. I mean, I’m big on that because driving is very important,” Whitaker said. “It’s not just your life, it’s everybody else on this road, man.”