Fort Lauderdale firefighter killed in I-95 crash planned to retire in April

Lt. Kevin Johns struck by car after stopping to change flat tire

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale fire lieutenant who was killed after he was struck by a car while changing a flat tire on the side of Interstate 95 was planning to retire next year, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Timothy Heiser said Wednesday.

Lt. Kevin Johns, 48, was on his way to work Tuesday morning when he stopped in the southbound lanes of I-95 just north of Yamato Road in Boca Raton to change a tire. That's when he was struck by a Hyundai Sonata that swerved off the highway to avoid hitting another vehicle that was slowing for traffic ahead and struck Johns, who was standing next to his car.

Johns was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Lorenza Simmons, who was driving the car, said she immediately called 911 and was speaking with Johns until paramedics arrived.

"We lost a family member," Heiser said.

Heiser said many people owe their lives to Johns, whom he said loved his job and never complained. He also said Johns was set to retire in April.

"This was a distinguished firefighter," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said. "This was a guy who had an awesome 29-year career -- constantly responding to calls, constantly helping those in need and always assisting people here in the community."

Johns' father was also a Fort Lauderdale firefighter. Johns is survived by his wife, Brenda, their three children and grandchildren.

Flags at all Fort Lauderdale fire stations were being flown at half-staff in his honor.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, sent a letter to the head of the Florida Highway Patrol, requesting that the agency examine the cellphone records of all parties involved in the crash.

"I do not know the exact circumstances of this crash, and I am not accusing the drivers involved of breaking the law," Slosberg said in the letter. "However, this appears as though distracted driving could have been a factor in this situation."

Slosberg's daughter, Dori, died in a crash in 1996. He has been an advocate of highway safety ever since.

He tried to pass tougher laws against texting and driving earlier this year, but failed. He said he hoped to bring the measure back up for debate next year.

Johns' funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at The Sanctuary church in Fort Lauderdale.

Click here to read the full letter sent to FHP.

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