Garbage truck crashed off overpass built in 1960s

FDOT officials say bridge, guardrails safe despite new regulations

By Derek Shore - Reporter , Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI - Investigators and traffic engineers are trying to figure out how a Miami garbage truck was sent plummeting from an elevated exit ramp more than 100 feet into a city park.

Local 10 News reporter Derek Shore spoke to a state transportation engineer, who said he has never seen anything like Monday's crash in about 30 years.

Despite the fact that the guardrail the driver crashed into was built in the 1960s, Local 10 learned that the state will not be modernizing the guardrail.

It was late Monday afternoon when the truck crashed through the guardrail on the Seventh Street exit ramp from southbound Interstate 95 and landed in the parking lot of Jose Marti Park.

Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said the truck fell more than 100 feet to the ground.

The driver, Kaseem Smith, was ejected and taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where he is listed in critical condition.

Jose Marti Park was open at the time, but no other injuries were reported.

"I have never seen anything like this," Dennis Fernandez of Florida Department of Transportation Maintenance said.

Fernandez said it's unclear what caused Smith to crash, but said FDOT will be looking at speed and the angle of the crash.

Shore learned that the overpass was built in 1969 and had it been built today, stronger guardrails would be required.

"Right now, we have a different standard which will stand a higher impact," Fernandez said.

But despite the crash, the state will only be fixing, not updating the guardrails on the Seventh Street exit since the state is only required to update guardrails if they are expanding or significantly changing the road.

"The railing that we have today, even though those railings are built to different criteria, they are safe to vehicle traffic," Fernandez said.

FDOT officials say they regularly inspect all overpasses and guardrails. Monday's crash remains under investigation.

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