MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A violent crash on a dangerous stretch of road left one car beyond recognition, and two drivers dead Monday.
The crash happened about six miles west of Krome Avenue, right next to Gator Park. The crash had shut down Tamiami Trail all of Monday morning.
The impact of the accident was so great, it left one of the two cars involved barely recognizable.
“Definitely speed was a factor and the accident spread through I would say about 300 yards,” said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez.
Investigators had to sift through pieces, finally finding the logo which identified the car as a Mustang.
The Mustang was driven by 25-year-old Miccosukee tribe member Jerome Huggins. Witnesses say his Mustang was flying westbound and swerved into a Chevy Silverado pickup—driven by Russell Larkins.
Larkins, 46, died on impact.
Neither car had any passengers.
Larkins was the caretaker at the Florida Airboat Association and a machinist—a beloved fixture in the River of Grass.
“He was a great guy,” said Susan Greenberg with Gator Park Airboat Rides. “Very well-known and loved here in our Airboat Community. It’s a great loss for us today. He did a lot of work with the wounded warrior and the scout troops.”
“He’s been out here for years, his family has been out here,” said Tra Still, also a friend of Larkin. “It’s terrible what happened, I mean, we’ve seen a lot of bad stuff on this road.”
Huggins, the driver of the Mustang, had a recent ticket for doing 22 miles over the limit and a marijuana bust.
A tribal friend of Huggins tweeted, “RIP Jerome Huggins…Wish alcohol was illegal again…loved ones would still be alive.”
Police are looking at whether intoxication played a part in the doubly fatal accident.
US 41 had a recent makeover, wider with emergency lanes and lots of reflectors.
“The road is brand new people come out here and they think that they can speed and pass improperly, you know, the trail continues to be a very dangerous road,” said Sanchez.
Trooper Sanchez said the crash is the third fatal wreck along the trail in three months—all three involving tribe members.