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Tampa 1-year-old killed in crash on Alligator Alley, 2 adults seriously injured

Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 18:56:25-04

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — A 1-year-old Tampa boy died after he was thrown from a pickup truck during a crash on I-75 in Broward County on Thursday.

According to an accident report released Friday morning, two adults also in the truck were seriously injured. The FHP report shows there were a total of three adults and four children in the truck at the time of the crash.

According to the report, a 31-year-old female passenger and a 56-year-old female passenger were seriously injured. The 33-year-old driver, 10-year-old, 8-year-old and 4-year-old passengers suffered minor injures, the report says.

None of the occupants were wearing seat belts or restraints, according to the report.

The crash happened around 4:18 p.m. near MM 27. FHP says it was caused by a tire blowout.

According to the report, when the tire blew the truck ran off the road, onto the outside grass shoulder and overturned several times before it came to a final rest on its roof.

The 1-year-old was ejected and fell into a portion of the canal. His body was found during a recovery mission Thursday night after the crash.

According to FHP, the case is still pending investigation.

The FHP report highlights the importance of safety on the roads.

“I’m not sure how you transport little ones without a seat belt or some restraining device," said Chris Brazzeal, the general manager of Brazzeal Automotive.

The report finds a blown tire caused the crash. In the United States, unsafe tires contribute to 700 deaths a year and one in four cars has at least one underinflated tire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Very scary, very scary but you can’t panic. You’ve got to stop and have a plan," said Brazzeal.

It turns out blowing out a tire is more likely to happen between May and October.

“Heat is a huge factor," said Brazzeal. "Rubber and the materials will start to break down under extreme temperatures like that.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, AAA expects Labor Day Weekend could still be fairly busy on Florida highways. ABC Action News asked Brazzeal what drivers should know before hitting the roads. He started with understanding what to do mid-blowout.

“The best thing you can do is have both hands on the steering wheel. Let off the gas. Don’t hit the brake right away," he said. Remember to not slam on the brakes but let the car gradually slow down and then carefully pull it onto the shoulder.

The National Safety Council says the top five causes of blowouts are underinflation, overload, uneven tread-wear, damage and defects. But you can take action right now to prevent it.

Brazzeal says look for the placard on the driver's side door that shows the correct psi to which you should fill each tire. Ahead of the big trip, don't overload your car. That extra weight can cause a blowout. Check on the tire tread, the old penny trick is a great way to see if your tires are still safe. In general, tires have a shelf life of about six years. Every tire has a DOT identification number on it that will show you its factory-made age.

“2,300," Brazzeal points to the imprint on the tire, "So, the 23rd week of 2000. This is a 20-year-old tire.”