Tractor-trailers destroyed in fiery crash in Polk County
U.S. 27 in Polk County has reopened, hours after closing following a crash this morning involving three semi-tractor trailers. Two of the trucks were destroyed by fire, and one victim was hospitalized with minor injuries, deputies say. Polk County deputies say the crash occurred around 2:40 a.m. about one mile north of Camp Inn Resort and three miles south of President's Drive. Deputies say Alan Timothy, 57, of Lake Wales, was driving northbound on U.S. 27 when he struck the rear of a tractor trailer driven by Jerry Austin Fritchey, 54, of Lake Wales.Timothy told deputies he did not realize he had been hit and continued driving northbound on U.S. 27 until he found an area that was well lit. Upon stopping, Timothy observed damage to his vehicle and called law enforcement, deputies say. Meanwhile, deputies say Fritchey’s trailer became disabled with no lights in the northbound outside lane. Fritchey was attempting to flag vehicles over when Angel Luis Jamie, 45, of Miami saw Fritchey's truck and attempted to swerve to avoid collision. The front end of Jamie’s tractor trailer struck Fritchey's disabled tractor trailer from the rear, deputies say. Fritchey’s trailer caught fire, and Jamie and his trailer drove across the median, both southbound lanes, and off the shoulder of the southbound lanes of U.S. 27, where his tractor trailer also caught fire, deputies say. Fritchey was hospitalized with minor injuries, and the other drivers were not injured, deputies say. The investigation is ongoing. Highway 27 remains closed at this time.