Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tow truck worker, Richard Jason Randolph, with Emerald Towing died after he fell off the bridge onto I-95 while at the scene of an overturned JJR Transport & Logistics tractor-trailer in Florida

NEW: Driver charged in I-95 truck wreck; dead tow-truck worker ID’d

Olivia Hitchcock
John Pacenti Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
4:26 p.m Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Local News



A tractor trailer dangles off the Congress Avenue overpass over I-95 early Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A 69-year-old tow-truck operator is dead and a truck driver faces charges after his tractor-trailer crashed and dangled off an overpass Wednesday, halting traffic on Interstate 95 for hours.

Richard Jason Randolph of Boca Raton died when he stepped over the barrier wall of the Congress Avenue overpass while he was trying to secure the tractor-trailer so it could be pulled upright, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Randolph fell onto the southbound shoulder of the highway and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Adrian Figueredo, 38, of Miami, faces charges of reportedly making an improper left turn and exceeding state limits on how many consecutive hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel. He was not injured in the crash, which took nearly six hours to clear and backed up traffic nearly 15 miles north to Boynton Beach.

The wreck was the latest in a series of crashes either on or near the overpass, the northernmost connection to I-95 in the city, and it marked the second time in a year that a tractor-trailer wrecked there and hovered over the crowded highway.

Figueredo was driving a truck for JJR Transport & Logistics at about 5:30 a.m. on the southbound exit ramp to Congress Avenue, FHP said in a report released Wednesday afternoon. He turned right into the concrete center median, then veered left, causing the truck to flip onto its right side against the barrier wall.

Randolph, an employee of Pompano Beach-based Emerald Towing, fell to his death about an hour later, FHP said.

State records show it’s common for vehicles to crash on the narrow collector road that links Congress Avenue to Interstate 95. Since 2011, there have been 151 crashes there, three of them fatal and 62 others resulting in injuries to a total of 87 people, according to a Florida Department of Transportation database.

The scene reminded many of one from August, when a tractor-trailer slid across traffic on I-95 near Congress and dangled for hours above the Tri-Rail tracks. The driver said he thought he was continuing on the expressway, instead of heading toward — and nearly over — an off-ramp.

“The majority of accidents happen because drivers are going too fast,” Sgt. Mark Wysocky, an FHP spokesman, said Wednesday.

In November, another tractor-trailer driver lost control of a truck on I-95 south near Congress Avenue and crashed, clogging traffic for hours.

For the safety of drivers, Florida Statutes set rules limiting how many consecutive hours they can be on the road. State officials cited Figueredo for driving more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period and for driving while fatigued.

Figueredo was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, and there is no evidence he was driving under the influence of alcohol when it happened, FHP said in its report.

Local roads near the crash site also saw substantial traffic backups during the morning rush-hour commute.

A tow-truck worker fell to his death early Wednesday when at the scene of crash on an Interstate 95 overpass in Boca Raton, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened when a tractor trailer that was leaving I-95 and getting onto Congress Avenue overturned on the overpass, FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky said.

The truck was leaning against the overpass wall and the tow worker was at the scene to assist crews in trying to remove it.

"A tow truck worker fell off the bridge onto I-95 (southbound lanes) and subsequently died,” Wysocky said.

What made the worker fall from the overpass is being investigated. Wysocky said the man, whose identity has not been released, was not struck by any vehicles on I-95 as the lanes beneath the overpass were already closed.

Currently, three southbound lanes of I-95 are closed at the scene and there are delays back to Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach and beyond.

In Boca Raton, three southbound I-95 are closed near Congress Avenue because a tractor-trailer has crashed on the overpass ramp. Only one southbound lane is open to traffic. The truck is against the overpass wall. There are delays back to Atlantic Avenue and beyond.

Alternate routes include Military Trail, Powerline Road U.S. 441 or Florida's Turnpike to the west of I-95 and U.S. 1 to the east.