PALM CITY, Fla. — A deadly crash involving three tractor-trailers caused major southbound traffic delays on Florida's Turnpike in Martin County on Friday.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the wreck happened just before 6 a.m. near mile marker 133, south of Becker Road in the Palm City area.
FATAL #CRASH involving 3 semi-trucks just before 6 am continues to block all southbound lanes of #FLTurnpike near MM 133 in Stuart. Each #truck rear ended the one in front of it. 1 driver was trapped and died on scene. #FHP estimates 5-6 hour shutdown. #martincountyfl #floridadot pic.twitter.com/DrOUMK5lxY— Martin County Fire Rescue (@MartinCountyFR) January 13, 2023
The FHP said a tractor-trailer, driven by a 67-year-old Orlando man, failed to stop and rear-ended a second semi that was stopped in the right lane because of traffic.
That semi, in turn, rear-ended a third tractor-trailer in front of it.
The Orlando man died at the scene, according to investigators, while a 29-year-old Texas man driving the third semi was taken to Martin South Hospital for minor injuries
All southbound lanes were back open after being closed for about seven hours.
Aerial video from WPTV Chopper 5 showed three tractor-trailers smashed up and damaged, along with multiple emergency vehicles at the scene.
WATCH: Report from WPTV Chopper 5
More than 3,000 crashes happened on the Turnpike in Martin County in 2022, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. As a result of the crashes, there were 34 fatalities.
The number of wrecks concerns Eric Dumbaugh, who is the associate director of the Collaborative Science Center for Road Safety at Florida Atlantic University.
"Enforcement at this point is the key thing that's needed," Dumbaugh said. "The enforcement in South Florida has become lax for some time, and drivers have become disrespectful of the travel laws that exist for our safety."
He said adding additional lanes would create more space but would not lessen the number of crashes.
"Adding lanes is going to exacerbate existing traffic safety problems," he said. "While it will increase the capacity of the roadways, it also encourages more aggressive driving."
The Florida Highway Patrol told WPTV that they are hoping to hire more troopers to patrol the Treasure Coast.