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Truck hauling donations headed to Venezuela crashes on the Turnpike

All lanes back open
A box truck crashed on the southbound Turnpike near the Lake Worth Road exit on April 26, 2019.
Posted at 6:59 AM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 12:30:59-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A box truck hauling donations headed to Venezuela crashed Friday morning on the Florida Turnpike southbound near the Lake Worth Road exit, spilling debris across the road.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the wreck happened around 6:30 a.m. when a Penske truck had a tire blowout, causing it to flip on its side.

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No other vehicles were involved, but some other semis experienced blowouts trying to avoid the crash.

FHP says the driver was transporting donated goods to Miami that were scheduled to be shipped to Venezuela. Debris that was spilled on the Turnpike included food, building supplies, generators, drinks and toys.

“We are in shock, you know. because these people want to help their families in Venezuela,” said Omar Velasquez, an operations manager for the company that was transporting the goods.

Velasquez told WPTV he was heartbroken to see donations meant for families in his native Venezuela, instead strewn on the side of the turnpike.

“I was in shock. I know what it means for many of the families in Venezuela,” he said.

The truck was on its way to Miami on behalf of Conavenca, an international freight company that also does work sending donations from across the state, free of charge to Venezuela. The company also ships to China and Panama, with offices in Orlando, Miami and Houston.

“We try to do our best in order to help the people there,” said Velasquez.

They were sending food, building supplies, toys, clothes and even toiletries to families in need. Dozens of boxes were strewn across the road, including large ketchup bottles and palettes of Coca-Cola products.

“It’s hard to see what the families are feeling, no food, no light, no water,” Velasquez said.

Luckily, he added that the cargo is covered by insurance and they plan to notify families across the state who sent donations about the crash.

“We’re really sorry about that but it’s not our fault,” said Velasquez.

Many of the non-perishable items — such as a few generators, building supplies and other boxes that were untouched — were saved and loaded onto another company truck to continue its journey to Miami and eventually to Venezuela. However, most of the food and drinks are not recoverable.

The company recently held a relief drive to collect items for families in need overseas. If you would like to help, you can contact Conavenca at 786-336-8181.

No one was hurt and no other vehicles were involved in the crash.

All lanes were back open by 9 a.m. but traffic was still slow as of 11:30 a.m. because of the clean up. Drivers need to use caution until the area is clear.

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