Things are a bit quieter today at the intersection of Amberly Dr. and Bruce B. Downs Blvd. (BBD) than they were the morning of August 12. At that intersection, a 16,000-pound dump truck filled with 22 tons of dirt careened off BBD, flipping over on its side while skidding onto Amberly Dr. while the driver fought to avoid colliding with a car that had stopped quickly in front of him when a traffic signal turned yellow at BBD.
The dump truck driver, Dexter Dixon, a Florida native who has been driving trucks for nearly 15 years, says he was driving normally when a car in front of him hit the brakes for the yellow light and he was forced to make the spit-second decision of either hitting the car in front of him or trying to make the turn onto Amberly Dr. to “run it out.”
“The car had passed me earlier and I knew there was a woman driving and a child in the car,” said Dixon, who was delivering the load of dirt for World Haulers, a trucking company out of Tampa. “It was either [I had to] go off the road myself or push into that car and through the intersection.”
Unfortunately, the weight of the load in the truck was too much for the right-hand turn, and Dixon smacked the side of a small median, while braking, which sent the truck sliding on its side towards a group of cars waiting to turn left onto BBD from Amberly Dr. According to Tampa Police Department (TPD) officers, one woman waiting at the traffic light saw the truck coming at her, and sped forward to avoid a collision. The dump truck eventually stopped after colliding with the median in the middle of Amberly Dr. with such force that it sent its load of dirt onto at least three cars waiting at the light.
“It is definitely one of the more unusual accidents I’ve ever seen,” said Tampa Police Corp. Wayne Hutches, “A lot of people are very lucky to be alive today. Very lucky.”
The three cars waiting at the light on Amberly Dr. were all damaged by the contents of the dump truck; however, Corp. Hutches says that none of the cars were “totaled” from the crash. The same could not likely be said for the dump truck, which looked mangled following the accident.
Lanes were closed on Amberly Dr. from the time of the crash, around 8:25 a.m., until 12:30 p.m. Both TPD and the Tampa Fire Department (TFD) were dispatched to the crash. It was also reported that a small fire started while the dump truck was being pulled out of the median. TFD quickly put out those flames.
Dixon, who sustained only minor injuries, was wearing his seatbelt. He said he jumped out of the cab to make sure no one was injured immediately after the crash. According to Corp. Wayne Hutches, Dixon was cited with “following too closely,” a moving violation that carries a $155 fine. The woman who stopped in front of Dixon was not ticketed and no one in her vehicle was injured.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt,” said Dixon, as he wiped a bit of blood off his eyebrow.