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Boy Scouts, trucker escape serious injury in fiery Turnpike crash in Okeechobee County

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jun 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-23 20:13:01-04

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. -- (WPTV/AP) A collision between a tractor-trailer loaded with produce and a car full of Boy Scouts destroyed both vehicles in a fire that closed the Florida Turnpike for hours on Saturday.

Florida Highway Patrol says a 2009 Honda CRV driven by 56-year-old Alexander Nestor Rojas of Miami was traveling southbound on the Florida Turnpike at 11:37 a.m. near mile marker 187 in Okeechobee County.

A Florida Highway Patrol report says seven Boy Scouts and four adults were returning from a camping trip Saturday when their vehicle collided with the tractor-trailer near Okeechobee.

According to FHP, the Honda was in the outside lane traveling below the minimum speed limit and was towing a trailer.

A tractor-trailer driven by 28-year-old Carlos Tamayo Prevost of Homestead and fully loaded with produce collided with the rear of the Honda's trailer, disconnecting the trailer from the Honda. It came to rest on the outside grass shoulder of Florida's Turnpike.

Both the Honda and the tractor-trailer continued southbound for a short distance, then came to final rest straddling the outside lane and the outside paved shoulder facing south.

All occupants of both vehicles exited their vehicles. Both vehicles then caught fire and became fully engulfed.

FHP says the produce being transported by the tractor-trailer had spilled onto the roadway.

Okeechobee Fire Rescue crews responded to the fire and extinguished both vehicles.

The fire caused damage to the roadway, which required emergency repairs and had southbound lanes closed for hours.

Authorities say one child and Rojas suffered slight injuries. Both were treated and released from a local hospital.

The Boy Scouts of America released a statement thanking first responders and expressing relief no one was seriously injured.