Semi trailer lands in the Manatee River after crash - WFLA News Channel 8

Semi trailer lands in the Manatee River after crash

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Traffic was backed up early Thursday morning on the JD Young Bridge after a German beer truck crashed and plunged into the river. 

The semi was partially submerged in the Manatee River for several hours.

The Florida Highway Patrol says at around 4:30 a.m. the driver of the semi truck lost control, and flipped over a retaining wall plunging into the water below.

When EMS arrived by boat, he was easy to find.

Lt. Chris Miller with FHP said, "The truck is almost totally submerged. When EMS arrived, the driver was actually standing on top of the roof of the tractor trailer."

The driver was identified as 40-year-old Kevin Dennison of Largo.

Dennison was taken to Blake Medical Center where he was last listed in serious but stable condition.

There was no beer on the truck, but officials say the semi was leaking fuel.

Miller said, "The truck has been secured. They do have a boom around there in case any more fuel leaks from the tanks. But right now it's all about finding the safest and most efficient way to get it out of the river."

No one else was injured in the crash.

Miller adds that it's important to be careful on the roads. He said, "Not just a bridge, any roadway, you have to adjust your driving behaviors to the roadway conditions. If its raining, you have to reduce your speed. If there's visibility issues such as fog, you have to slow down, drive carefully."

It could be another day or two before crews remove the truck from the water. 

FHP says alcohol is not considered a factor in the crash, but this morning's severe weather may have played a role.

Road crews will begin fixing the damage to the retaining wall weather permitting.

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