A tragic accident claimed the life of a Belle Glade man on Thursday, January 21.
Authorities say the crash happened just before 6 AM, at the intersection of State Road 80 and Hatton Highway. A Freightliner truck driving northbound on Hatton just before 6 a.m. began to cross State Road 80 on a flashing red light, according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO). This brought the Freightliner into the path of 56-year-old Richard Allen’s 2017 Chevrolet Impala. When the vehicles collided, the Impala got stuck under the trailer of the much larger truck. Meanwhile a Toyota Tacoma couldn’t stop in time to avoid the wreck and crashed into the rear of the Impala.
Sadly, Allen was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Freightliner and Toyota drivers were uninjured.
Tractor trailer crashes on State Road 80
Sadly this is not an uncommon situation. Crashes with tractor-trailers can be very deadly for people in passenger vehicles, due to their relatively large size and weight. Often a tractor-trailer driver will not be hurt in such a crash, but a person riding in a passenger car will be severely injured or killed.
In 2015, 3,852 people in Florida were killed in crashes with commercial vehicles, and 69% were riding in passenger cars (another 15% were pedestrians or bike riders). It is also unfortunately very common for a car to get trapped under a trailer, as happened in this wreck. This can make it difficult for emergency personnel to reach people trapped in the car.
Florida is a busy state with many large trucks on the road. In 2016, there were 44,307 commercial vehicles involved in accidents in the state.