Report: Beachline Bridge Tanker Explosion Remains Mysterious

Investigators have found few answers in the case of an explosive traffic accident in January 2011 that obliterated a Beachline overpass and took the lives of both drivers involved. A four-month investigation, in fact, likely led only to more questions about the Merritt Island, Florida, crash.

The accident occurred January 21, 2011, around 3 p.m. when a 19-year-old woman from Merritt Island, Florida, was traveling west on the Beachline. In the 15 minutes prior to the accident, she made three calls on her cell phone—all to the owner of the Ford F-150 that she was driving at the time—though it’s not known what she’d been calling about.

As the woman reached an overpass at North Courtenay Parkway, she lost control of the pickup truck and fishtailed into an emergency lane, where she sideswiped a tanker trunk that contained 8,702 gallons of gasoline. Both the F-150 and the tanker truck overturned and fell off the overpass before exploding. Gasoline continued to burn for an hour, burning the overpass beyond repair.

Both the driver of the F-150 and the 42-year-old tanker driver—a resident of Lauderhill, Florida—died in the crash.

Following the crash, the Florida Department of Transportation awarded Lane Construction $2.2 million to rebuild the overpass.

A 43-page report on the crash has yielded few answers—revealing that blood samples from both drivers did not indicate alcohol or drugs and that though the roadway was wet it was not raining at the time. The report did conclude that the F-150 driver was at fault in the accident, based on witness reports.

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About The Author

Michael Steinger

Michael Steinger

The Florida BarFlorida Bar Young Lawyers DivisionMillion Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates ForumBest Workers Compensation Attorneys in MiamiBest Car Accident Lawyers in MiamiLawyers of distinction

MICHAEL S. STEINGER, founding partner of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, believes in representing real people, not big businesses. Since the firm’s creation in 1997, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has never represented an insurance company or large corporation, and he vows to keep this promise. Over the course of his career, Michael has handled thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients and earning him membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Staying up-to-date on the ever-evolving laws protecting injury victims and their families, Michael is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Bar Associations, and sits on the Auto Insurance Committee of the Florida Justice Association.