Hillsborough County

Semi-truck driver OK after slamming through I-275 barrier

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Part of I-275 in Tampa was shut down for several hours Sunday morning after a semi-truck crash.

The crash happened near the I-4 exit ramp just before 5:30 a.m.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the semi-truck driver was traveling northbound through the interchange too fast when he started to hydroplane and lost control.

The semi-truck crashed through the barrier wall and went into the southbound lanes.

"There wasn't much time to think," said James Lee, the truck driver.

Lee had just dropped off a Coca-Cola delivery in Dunedin. He explains he lost control due to the wet weather. Lee says overall he is OK.

"Sore. My back is sore. I got a couple marks on my arm and all that," he said.

Lee says he knows thing could have been much worse, adding he is grateful it wasn't.

"You got that right! The truth is seatbelts do save lives. With all this, if I didn't have a seatbelt on, no telling what would have been the story," said Lee.

During our Sunday morning newscast, News Channel 8's Amanda Ciavarri spoke exclusively with one of two good samaritans who saw the crash and rushed to help get Lee out of the truck.

"He was just shocked. He was wedged between the gear shift and his two seats," said Jayson Black, who pulled Lee from the truck. 

Once Lee was out, Black realized he was going to be OK.

I did an eye test on him, he seemed functional and was able to stand," he said.

Troopers say Lee will be ticketed for driving too fast in wet weather.

All of the southbound lanes of I-275 were temporarily blocked off by police but reopened around 8 a.m.


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