Fort Lauderdale firefighter killed in I-95 crash

FHP: Kevin Johns, 48, struck by car while standing on side of highway

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - A Fort Lauderdale fire lieutenant was killed after he was struck by a car Tuesday morning on Interstate 95.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Kevin Johns, 48, had stopped on the side of the road to change a flat tire.

The accident happened in the southbound lanes of I-95 just north of Yamato Road in Boca Raton.

According to the FHP, Lorenza Simmons, 48, who was driving a Hyundai Sonata, hit a Toyota RAV4 as the SUV was slowing for traffic ahead.

Troopers said Simmons tried to avoid hitting the SUV by veering to the right, but ended up hitting the vehicle. She then veered off the road hitting Johns, who was standing next to his car.

"I'm guessing that as he got up, because he heard the bang, he stepped out to see what happened and stepped right in front of the car," Simmons told WPBF in West Palm Beach.

Simmons said she immediately called 911. She said Johns was trying to speak back to her, but she couldn't understand what he was saying.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue spokesman Tim Heiser said Johns was a 25-year veteran.

Johns was taken to Delray Medical Center and pronounced dead just after 1 p.m.

Tearful family members and fellow firefighters gathered for a procession from the hospital to the Palm Beach County medical examiner's office shortly after 5 p.m.

"Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue is deeply saddened by the loss of Fire Lieutenant Kevin Johns," Chief Robert Hoecherl said in a statement. "Kevin served the citizens of Fort Lauderdale for over 28 years and saved countless lives during that time. Kevin will be dearly missed by his fire department and city family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin's wife, Brenda, and three children. Fort Lauderdale fire wishes to thank all those in the community for the outpouring of support and kind words. We also would like to thank all our fire department brothers and sisters for being there for Kevin's family and for being there for the members of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue."

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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