Mateus D. Oliveira was killed in a Boynton Beach, Florida car crash with Edward O. Maury on Sunday, news sources report. Oliveira, 20, of Boca Raton, was pronounced dead at the scene; Maury, 61, of North Lauderdale was not injured. Two other accidents ensued as rescue workers blocked off lanes to clear the site, one involving an ambulance. The Florida Highway Patrol is currently conducting an investigation; so far, it is unclear whether charges will follow.
According to reports, the collision occurred in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Woolbright Road. Interstate 95 is a 382-mile long multi-lane expressway that stretches across Florida. The speed limit on the interstate varies from 55 to 65 mph. Interstate 95 is one of Florida’s busiest roadways, and was home to the most fatalities of all the interstates in the U.S. in 2010.
This recent collision occurred around 5:25 Sunday morning. Oliveira was traveling along the intersection at a ‘high rate of speed” in his 2004 Kia Optima when he allegedly rear-ended Maury’s truck, reports say. The force of the impact ejected Oliveira, who was not wearing his seat belt, from the car. The unoccupied vehicle caught fire after the collision. Oliveira was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fire rescue crews arrived and blocked lanes of northbound I-95 while they extinguished the fire. Shortly after, another accident occurred near the scene of the first crash. It is unclear whether that crash was related to the blocked lanes. “After more units arrived and blocked even more lanes [following that second crash], another vehicle skidded into the emergency scene and collided with [an ambulance],” a fire rescue worker commented. “One of our crew members was working in the area and avoided being hit by only a few feet.” The ambulance was decommissioned following the collision because damage to the medical compartments rendered them unusable, reports say.
Just moments after that crash, another accident occurred when a car rear-ended another vehicle, sources say. Again, it was unclear whether that crash was related to the blocked lanes. The three crashes ended up blocking all but one of the northbound lanes on I-95 for four hours, causing a serious traffic jam, reports indicate. So far, it is unclear whether anyone was hurt in the second and third crashes.
A fire rescue spokesperson commented on the series of accidents later that day, saying, “Please remember, when you see an emergency vehicle operating on a roadway, to move over at least one lane or slow to 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.”
Palm Beach County is among Florida’s largest counties, with a population of around 1.35 million people. As a result, the county is home to a large number of traffic accidents every year. In 2006, there were a staggering 14,948 traffic crashes in the county. Thankfully, those numbers have been declining over the last several years: records from 2010 show there were 13,410 traffic crashes in Palm Beach County that year, a 10% decrease since 2006.