Efrem Dwyanna Crawford, 49, of Pahokee, died Wednesday following a fiery crash with two semi trucks southeast of Okeechobee.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) officials say the crash happened about 6:30 AM, near the Lake Okeechobee shore, along U.S. 441, about 2 miles northwest of the Martin County line.
According to the police report, Crawford was driving northbound on U.S. 441 in a 2005 Freightliner 18-wheeler. A 1997 Peterbilt 18-wheeler and a 2017 Jeep Patriot were heading southbound. The Jeep slowed to turn off, and the Peterbilt, driven by Ivan Cruz, 58, lost control and swerved to the left, hitting the Jeep’s left rear.
The Peterbilt then veered into the northbound lane, hitting the Freightliner and causing both 18-wheelers to go up in flames. According to the FHP report, Crawford died in the cab of his truck as it burned. Cruz was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The Jeep went off the road and hit a parked car, but the driver was unhurt.
Sadly, big truck accidents like this one can cause serious injury and death. In 2017 alone, Florida saw nearly 32,000 accidents involving large trucks. Of these, 27 resulted in fatalities, 57 people were incapacitated, and 1,053 suffered other injuries. Because large trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, it’s easy to see why they can cause so much damage. Companies that use these large vehicles have a duty to ensure they are properly maintained, and that their drivers are thoroughly trained and follow all safety regulations.