LAKELAND – Jody Franks was injured in a major truck accident today in Polk County, Florida. He was sitting at a red light in his pickup truck in the southbound lane of DeCastro Road at the intersection of SR 540, when a fully loaded garbage truck weighing about 49 tons attempted to make a right turn and overturned onto his vehicle. The pickup immediately caught fire with Franks trapped inside.
Fortunately, several other truckers were in the vicinity of the crash and were able to put out the fire with their fire extinguishers. A large, heavy-duty wrecker was needed to get the garbage truck off the pickup and the Jaws of Life were needed to get Franks out of the crumpled pickup.
Polk County sheriff’s deputies said Franks appeared to have no life-threatening injuries. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
The Florida Refuse garbage truck was driven by 41-year-old Mike Crittenden. Deputies said he was cited for careless driving. Crittenden and a passenger in his truck who was not identified were both taken to Lakeland Regional, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff’s spokesman, Carrie Rodgers said that everyone involved in the accident was wearing a seat belt.
The roof of the dump truck’s cab where Franks was sitting, was flattened to a level even with or slightly lower than the top of the dash board. Emergency workers used words like “incredible” and “amazing” to describe Franks’ escape from more serious injuries.
Kevin Jones, an official with Conner Construction, said Franks was “stable and cognizant.”
“And fortunate,” Jones said.
The Florida truck accident lawyers at our firm handle truck accidents all over the state of Florida. We know when truck drivers are careless, serious injuries are more likely to result because commercial trucks, like the one driven by Crittenden, weigh several tons more than the average passenger car. Polk County sees more than its share of truck accidents because of the unusually high number of large trucks traveling on its roadways. Read my post (Bartow, Florida Semi Truck Accident Closes SR 60) for more information on Polk County truck accidents.