Grand Ridge- Emergency crews spent most of Monday cleaning up asphalt at the intersection of Highway 90 and State Road 69 in Grand Ridge.
“The trailer was hauling 6,000 gallons of hot tar, and it was attempting to turn left on State Road 69 here in Grand Ridge” Florida Highway Patrol Sargent, J.D. Johnson told us. “The dump truck was eastbound on Highway 90 hauling a load of lime rock over near the Sneads area.”
According to troopers, the dump truck driver, Abilio Avila (53) was unable to stop in time and hit the tractor trailer, driven by Christopher Owns (32). The trailer detached and fell to its side, on top of the dump truck, causing hot tar to spill out into the road and into the cab of Avila's dump truck.
"They transport hot liquid tar like that at 350 degrees” Johnson explained, “so, it is very hot- it blisters the skin. The dump truck driver suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands and arms. He has leg injuries from the crash. But the burns will take longer to heal than the leg injuries.“
Paramedics airlifted Avila to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Doctors reportedly have planned to transfer Avila to a burn unit for further treatment. Responders took Owns to Jackson Hospital in Marianna with minor injuries. The driver of a pick-up truck, Nelson Garlo (43), also suffered minor injuries and was transported to Jackson Hospital.
"I’m just glad nobody was killed in the crash” Johnson said. "The tar has gotten to a temperature where it won't catch anything on fire. It itself is not flammable. But, because of the heat, it will catch anything that's sitting in it- like the dump truck- on fire.