Fuel tanker driver fell asleep at wheel, caused crash that closed I-4 in Lakeland

EB I-4 had been closed at Exit 31 since 5 AM

TAMPA - Eastbound I-4 from Exit 31/Kathleen Road to Exit 28/Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland has been reopened after a tanker crash that occurred at approximately 5 AM. Eastbound traffic had been forced off of the interstate at Exit 28 to EB Memorial/US-92. 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Lucius Hamilton Lawrence, 33, of Winter Garden, FL, fell asleep at the wheel of a gasoline trailer - with approximately 8,700 gallons of gas and diesel fuel on board - while driving on I-4 near Kathleen Road (MM 31) in Lakeland. At approximately 5 AM, the truck collided with a guardrail and flipped on the side of I-4. Lawrence was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with minor injuries, and has been charged with careless driving.

All lanes of eastbound I-4 were closed at the crash scene at approximately 5:25 AM. Members of the Fire Department frequently sprayed the tanker with flame-retardant foam while waiting for the fuel to be drained. The tanker was emptied by 11:45, and was removed from the scene at approximately 12:15 PM.

Approximately 1,100 gallons or more of diesel leaked onto the roadway. Travel lanes must be cleaned and inspected before all lanes can be reopened.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments