A driver has been fined after his semi truck flew through a red light at an intersection and overturned, closing southbound Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. lanes for nearly 10 hours.

According to the Tampa Police Department (TPD), around 11:11 on May 11, 69-year-old Thomas Jonovitch, of Palm Bay, FL, a semi-truck driver, got off of northbound I-75 at the Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. exit in his 2005 Freightliner. However, after exiting, Jonovitch did not stop at the red light at BBD, later stating that he thought he was on an extension of I-75, rather than an exit ramp.

The report says that when Jonovitch realized his mistake, he slammed his brakes — which locked up — causing the semi to skid across the intersection, hitting three cars waiting to head south on BBD, before leaving the west side of the road and turning over, spilling some of its dry freight cargo. TPD reports that two of the vehicles were dragged by the semi and trapped beneath it when the semi overturned. However, the report does not specify which vehicles were trapped.

Drivers Francisca Ezeogu, 37, and Amy Skrzpczak, 18, both of New Tampa, and Penny Seon, 50, of Tampa, were all transported to local hospitals with minor and what were reported as non-life-threatening injuries. Jonovitch was cited for not stopping at a red light, which ended up causing an estimated $100,000 in damage and closing all southbound BBD lanes beginning at Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. until 1:42 a.m. the next day. All of the southbound lanes of BBD were not reopened until about 9 a.m.

No additional information was available at our press time. — Matt Wiley

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