Defective brakes may be to blame for a fatal accident in Martin County that involved an 18-wheeler and six other vehicles.
The Martin County trucking accident occurred on Thursday, November 29, at about 8:00 a.m. Twenty-six-year-old Andrii V. Plys, of Oviedo, was driving a 2006 Freightliner semitrailer south on I-95 near Kanner Highway. He was hauling a load of custom landscaping rocks from Los Angeles, California, for delivery to Delray Beach. As Plys came over the St. Lucie Canal overpass he lost air pressure in his brakes. The 18-wheeler crashed into and over a 2012 Honda CRV. The truck caught on fire and continued without stopping causing a chain reaction crash that involved a total of six cars. At least two people had to be extricated by emergency workers.
The driver of the CRV, Howard Martin-Vegue, 76, of Port St. Lucie, was killed. Two people sustained serious injuries. One victim was flown to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce. The other was taken to the same hospital by ambulance. Two people were taken to Martin Hospital South in Port Salerno with non-life-threatening injuries. Five people declined medical assistance.
Although the Florida Highway Patrol has determined that Plys is at fault, Plys says that he did not have time to react once his brakes went out. According to Plys, he stopped at a rest area the night before and slept from 8:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Plys consented to blood testing for drugs and alcohol. The Florida trucking accident remains under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol.
The southbound lanes were closed from just before Exit 101 to Mile Marker 105 for more than four hours. Drivers were directed to Florida's Turnpike via Martin Highway. The southbound lanes reopened at about 12:30 p.m.
Palm Beach accident attorney David Glatthorn would like to offer his sympathy to the family of Mr. Martin-Vegue as well as to the others affected by this tragic accident.