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Trooper, Polk deputy, teen injured in I-4 tractor-trailer crash

A tractor-trailer driver failed to move over a lane as he approached the law enforcement vehicles on the side of Interstate 4, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Mar. 13, 2021|Updated Mar. 13, 2021

Two officers and a teenager were injured Friday evening on Interstate 4 when a tractor-trailer driver failed to change lanes and plowed into a law enforcement vehicle, troopers say.

A Polk County Sheriff’s Office patrol cruiser, Florida Highway Patrol cruiser and a disabled SUV were parked on the side of westbound I-4 with their emergency lights activated, according to the Highway Patrol. The 17-year-old SUV driver and a trooper were standing outside their vehicles about 7:25 p.m. as a tractor-trailer headed west approached them, traveling in the outside lane.

The tractor-trailer driver didn’t switch lanes, as required by Florida’s “move over” law, and struck the sheriff’s vehicle as the deputy tried to re-enter traffic, according to the Highway Patrol.

The sheriff’s vehicle was pushed back onto the shoulder, where it struck the 17-year-old, the trooper and the trooper’s vehicle. The collision pushed the tractor-trailer to the left, where it collided with a car. Both vehicles came to rest in the center median, striking a guardrail.

Related: Road Ranger truck struck on I-4 when driver fails to ‘move over,’ troopers say

The 17-year-old, the sheriff’s deputy, the trooper and the car driver all suffered minor injuries. The tractor-trailer driver, a 57-year-old Orlando man, was not injured. The Highway Patrol did not release the names of anyone involved in the crash.

Florida’s “move over” requires drivers to move one lane over when they approach a stopped emergency, utility or sanitation vehicles, along with tow trucks, wreckers and Road Rangers. If they can’t move over, the law requires them to slow down to 20 mph under the speed limit as they pass by.

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