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Florida driver swerved to miss falling couch. Then he got a ticket.

The car struck the median and flipped over. The couple inside were hanging upside down, and passersby helped them out of the vehicle. At the hospital, they got the ticket.
A couple driving home from a monthlong visit to Florida escaped serious injury when they swerved to avoid a couch that fell from a truck on Interstate 95. But then they got a ticket.
A couple driving home from a monthlong visit to Florida escaped serious injury when they swerved to avoid a couch that fell from a truck on Interstate 95. But then they got a ticket. [ Google Maps ]
Published Mar. 3
Updated Mar. 3

FORT LAUDERDALE — A couple driving home from a monthlong visit to Florida escaped serious injury when they swerved to avoid a couch that fell from a truck on Interstate 95.

But they couldn’t avoid a $166 traffic ticket for “failing to drive in a single lane,” according to a crash report by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Jake Singer told the South Florida SunSentinel that his girlfriend was driving on Feb. 20 as they headed home to Washington following a visit with family in Boca Raton.

The truck that dropped the couch kept driving, but their 2006 Toyota Corolla struck the median and flipped over. Singer and his girlfriend were hanging upside down, and passersby helped them out of the vehicle. The car was totaled and they were each taken to the hospital in an ambulance, the newspaper reported.

That’s when a trooper showed up at the hospital with the traffic ticket.

“He gave us a ticket for basically swerving lanes while trying to avoid a couch that was flying at us on the highway,” Singer told the newspaper. “He seemed nervous to give us this news,” Singer said, “which I can understand.”

Lt. Yanko Reyes told the newspaper that while it’s a tough break for the couple, troopers have discretion when issuing traffic citations.

“You have to look at the totality of the circumstances,” Reyes said. “Remember, in Florida it is recommended to have at least a two-vehicle length between your vehicle and the vehicles in front of you because that way you have enough time to react in case something like this happens, in case somebody brakes, in case debris falls on the roadway, you’re able to avoid any and all difficulties.”

Reyes said drivers are supposed to maintain control of their vehicles.

Singer said he attempted to reason with the trooper, saying that if drivers violate the rules of the road, they should be ticketed.

“But the starting point is that you’re giving us a safe road to drive on, and that’s the sort of contract we have, and I’m pretty sure couches flying in the air breaks the contract, and we have to do whatever to stay alive,’” he said.