A 23-year-old independent contractor truck driver set out on the road from a Palm Beach County mill on the U.S. 27 one recent foggy, dark morning. Within just a mile, the trailer of the large vehicle broke away from the tractor, unbeknownst to the driver, who continued on for a time.
Meanwhile, that tractor in the middle of the highway, in a blanket of thick fog just before the morning rush, became deadly. Approaching motorists didn’t have enough time to react when the impediment became visible.
A total of three vehicles slammed into the trailer, including another tractor-trailer. People were pinned in their vehicles. Some were already dead. Firefighters had to use cut occupants out. The roadway was pocked with divots that required new asphalt be laid before the road could re-open. In total four people were killed and one person was seriously injured. Another suffered minor scrapes and bruises. Of those killed, three were teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17. The fourth was the 39-year-old driver of that vehicle.