FORT MYERS (CBSMiami) – The Florida Highway Patrol has released dramatic video of a crash involving a driver who slammed into the back of a trooper’s patrol car while he was pulled over on the side of the road.
The accident took place on November 5, 2018 on I-75.
Trooper Richard Verbiest stopped his Chevrolet SUV with emergency lights activated behind a disabled motorist on the inside paved shoulder of southbound I-75 at mile marker 134 in Lee County.
Moments later, a 2012 Mazda, driven by Fernando Xavier Espinoza, 35 of Fort Myers, was traveling southbound on I-75 when he swerved his car to avoid slowing traffic. He struck the guardrail and the backend of the stopped FHP vehicle, and then his engine caught on fire.
Espinoza was seriously hurt. Trooper Verbiest suffered a minor injury but was able to get out of his damaged SUV and pull Espinoza from the burning Mazda.
The Florida Highway Patrol says it released the video as a reminder for drivers to remain focused behind the wheel and follow the Florida move over law, which states, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle on a multiple lane highway, that vehicle must move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle. If traffic congestion prevents a safe lane change, the vehicle is required to reduce speed by 20 mph below the posted speed limit.