Wayward wheel leads to fiery crash in North Fort Myers, sends 1 to hospital

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
A dump truck went up in flames Monday morning, sending a plume of black smoke into the air in Lee County. (Photo courtesy of Matt Caldwell)

A dump truck went up in flames Monday morning, sending a plume of black smoke into the air in Lee County.

It happened on Fox Hill Road and SR-31, a stretch of road known for bad crashes in North Fort Myers.

The 64-year-old driver of the dump truck was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and crash investigators said it’s fortunate no one died. The driver had to deal with a tire that flew off a flatbed in front of him and he had nowhere to go.

“The dump truck couldn’t stop in time and he veered over to the left and went over into the ditch, overturned with a full load,” said Matt Caldwell of Babcock Ranch.

Caldwell saw the crash and saw the dump truck and its full load catch fire.

“It was scary; I was hoping the guy got out.”

The driver of a blue Hyundai Sonata that was involved also survived. His car wasn’t so fortunate. Investigators said his car was hit by two tires: one that came off the flatbed and one that came off the dump truck as it left the road.

“You can imagine how lucky he feels right now that he’s not injured,” said Lt. Greg Bueno with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Caldwell knows firsthand how dangerous SR-31 can be. He drives the two-lane road every day. Seeing a dump truck was alarming, but witnessing a crash?

“There’s bad accidents every single week that I’m seeing, so it was not too much of a shock. There’s always accidents when you go through,” he said.

Caldwell said he hopes the road will be expanded to four lanes sometime soon because nearby Babcock Ranch is growing, and so is the traffic.

The FHP said it’s still investigating the crash. The driver of the truck that lost the wheel did not stop and was last seen heading north on SR-31. If you know anything about it, call *FHP.

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