SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A truck traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport early Thursday morning, the airport’s president and CEO said.
An officer saw 40-year-old Juan Monsivis of Bradenton try to pass a vehicle as he drove recklessly north on U.S. Highway 41, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a press release.
The officer said he lost sight of Monsivis, then saw him leave the roadway.
Troopers said he crashed into a chain-link fence in front of the airport and continued to travel toward the terminal.
Surveillance video shows the moment Monsivis crashed through a wall, leaving debris all over the terminal.
“We were very fortunate in the fact it was so early in the morning, that we did not have a lot of people who were exiting from an aircraft,” said Florida Highway Patrol trooper Kenn Watson.
The driver was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in serious condition, Watson said, and at last check, wasn’t able to talk with investigators.
Troopers have yet to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the incident.
“That video explains that the vehicle was still at a high rate of speed, when it not only went through the fence, but continued at a high rate of speed, when it struck the building,” Watson said.
Charges are pending further investigation, according to the FHP’s report.
A search of the Manatee County Clerk of Court’s website and the Manatee County Jail website shows Monsivis has been arrested numerous times over the years for a host of crimes including DUI, probation violation and drugs possession.
Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo was puzzled when he first heard the news.
“It was a little of trying to understand. Thought maybe they came through the doorway down at the end. I never imagined it came through a cinder block wall like that,” Piccolo said.
Then, he saw the video and was stunned.
State troopers ruled out terrorism, Watson said, and are investigating the incident as a traffic crash.
Piccolo sees the crash as freakish and isolated, adding little could have been done to stop the truck.
“You can only do so much security. You can’t turn this into a fortress. It would cost millions and millions of dollars,” he said Thursday.
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