OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A septic tanker driver was critically injured and his passenger suffered minor injuries when the truck rear-ended another big rig Wednesday morning on Interstate 4 near Walt Disney World, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The crash happened around 5:15 a.m. on I-4 west near World Drive in Kissimmee. Westbound lanes were closed in the area for hours, backing up morning-drive traffic.
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The FHP said the septic tanker driver, a 23-year-old Lakeland man, failed to slow for traffic and crashed into the back of a Walmart semitruck, which then struck a 2022 Kia Forte.
The septic tanker overturned on I-4 west. Troopers said the driver, a 41-year-old Lakeland man was airlifted to Osceola Regional Hospital in critical but stable condition. His passenger was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to an FHP crash report.
“Fire rescue, along with other crews, had to lift the pressure off of this occupant to get them out,” News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero said. “They were there for quite some time.”
Officials said the septic tank driver sustained minor injuries while the Walmart big rig driver, a 37-year-old Kissimmee man, and the Kia Forte driver, a 27-year-old Cape Coral man, were not injured.
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All westbound lanes of I-4 in the area of mile marker 62 reopened as of 11 a.m., FHP said.
“Drivers in the area need to pay attention,” Trooper Steve said. “We already know I-4 is not the nicest place to drive, but once we start getting into Osceola County, the attractions area, you mix construction, you mix drivers. Who knows who’s visiting right here? Things are always a mess in this area no matter what time.”
This crash remains under investigation.
Those interested in helping the family of the 41-year-old man who was hospitalized as a result of the crash can donate to the following GoFundMe page.
Check back for updates.
Air Care on the GROUND— “Trooper Steve” Montiero (@TrooperSteve_) February 1, 2023
WB I-4 x World Drive pic.twitter.com/49BN50BGPJ
I-4 Traffic update on this #Wednesday pic.twitter.com/bJA6vqKdix— “Trooper Steve” Montiero (@TrooperSteve_) February 1, 2023
** TRAFFIC ALERT **— “Trooper Steve” Montiero (@TrooperSteve_) February 1, 2023
WB I-4 x World Drive
- main lines shutdown
- Alt: Take exit to World Drive but maintain left lane, you can reenter I-4 west
- Expect delays pic.twitter.com/mrWU99g4Zx