I-95 closures: Tragedy, mayhem a fixture on Palm Beach County’s highway

Two shootings and a series of crashes snarled traffic Wednesday on Interstate 95, leaving motorists looking for alternative ways to move around the county. 

Here is a look at other crashes and traumatic incidents that have caused chaos on the interstate.

April 12, 2017: A 69-year-old tow-truck operator died after he fell from the Congress Avenue overpass while trying to secure a tractor trailer that had crashed and was dangling from the bridge.

The crash took nearly six hours to clear and backed up traffic nearly 15 miles north to Boynton Beach.

March 5, 2017: A massive brush fire on a wooded tract in Palm Beach Gardens forced the closure of Interstate 95 for most of the afternoon and evening, snarling traffic for hours.

The blaze started on an undeveloped tract owned by Florida Power & Light Co., just east of Interstate 95 and north of PGA Boulevard. Buoyed by strong winds, it quickly grew to encompass an estimated 80 acres.

Aug. 4, 2016: A tractor-trailer slid through multiple lanes of traffic, across a median and into a concrete wall, closing the on- and off-ramps at Congress Avenue for nearly eight hours. The truck stopped with its front end dangling from the ramp over Tri-Rail tracks, delaying some of the commuter service’s trains for up to 2½ hours. The driver was not injured.

May 1, 2016: Two children, three teens and one adult riding in a minivan Saturday night on Interstate 95 in Jupiter died in what some officials said was the most horrific crash they had seen in the area in years.

The driver of the 2001 Mercury Villager, Heidi Solis-Perez, and her young daughter were both seriously injured. Solis Perez’s four other children — Marillany Julian-Solis, 5; Alexander Julian-Solis, 7; Macareo Julian-Solis, 14; Sandy Julian-Solis, 17 — died. Also killed were Reynaldo Diaz, Solis Perez’s 31-year-old boyfriend, and Andres Perez, 18, who was Diaz’s cousin.

The wreck sent traffic in the I-95 southbound lanes to a standstill as paramedics tried to save the children.

The Solis family was headed south from Stuart for a weekend visit to relatives in Broward County when the minivan smashed into a concrete barrier wall on the interstate’s southbound lanes in Jupiter before veering back onto the highway, where it was struck by another vehicle.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the tread on one of the vehicle’s tires separated, causing Solis-Perez to lose control.

May 6, 2015:One young man was killed and six others were injured when the SUV they were in rolled over and burst into flames between Hypoluxo and Lantana roads.

The accident shut down the highway’s northbound lanes for about four hours.

All seven of the SUV’s occupants were thrown from the vehicle. PeterOlivier, 20, was killed in the crash. Calvin Jordan, a former John I. Leonard High School football player, spent a month in the hospital.

Dec. 24, 2010: One man was killed and another seriously injured as three unrelated incidents combined to slow traffic on Interstate 95 for hours on Christmas Eve.

Savius Clervoyant, 59, of Lake Worth, was run over and killed on the shoulder of I-95 as he tried to change a flat tire with his wife in the car.

In a separate incident, a Chrysler being chased south on I-95 in Jupiter by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office flipped several times after colliding with a sheriff’s vehicle, seriously injuring one of the two occupants in the fleeing car.

Nearby, another vehicle caught fire on southbound I-95 about the same time, blocking traffic for about two hours.

Jan. 30, 2009: Barbara Carlisle, a 58-year-old flight attendant on her way to work at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, was killed in a crash south of Indiantown Road that shut down all southbound lanes for nearly six hours.

Carlisle drove her Honda sedan through a wreck that left two tractor-trailers pulled over on the side of Interstate 95.

One tractor-trailer had crashed into the back of a Rooms-To-Go truck south of Indiantown Road after the furniture truck had slowed to let another vehicle pass. The second of two trailers hauled by the Rooms-To-Go truck overturned on its side and split, spilling pieces of furniture on the highway.

Carlisle crashed into the Rooms-to-Go truck. She died at the scene.

Aug. 15, 2006: Boynton Beach police officers chased a man across Interstate 95 and shot him dead in the roadway after he reportedly reached for an officer’s gun during the pursuit.

The incident shut down the interstate in both directions for three hours, jamming the highway and neighborhood roads for miles.

Police said they chased the man after he fled from a nearby crash scene in his pickup, then bailed out south of Hypoluxo Road to make a run for it.

July 13, 2004: A five-vehicle crash triggered by thick traffic and heavy rain shut down southbound Interstate 95 for nearly three hours and sent two people to the hospital.

Hundreds of vehicles were stuck on the road until the lanes were reopened. Lake Worth Fire-Rescue workers erected a small canopy and handed out cold drinks to the stranded drivers.

May 15, 1995: Interstate 95 was shut down for more than 14 hours while firefighters and cleanup crews toiled in record heat on an overturned gasoline tanker.

Traffic was a mess as the more than 300,000 motorists who use the expressway daily were forced onto alternate routes. Every school bus in southern Palm Beach County ran late. At least 15 accidents were reported on side streets in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, several more than on a normal day.

Feb. 2, 1990: A truck carrying more than 15 tons of toxic chemicals flipped on its side just south of Lake Worth Road, forcing troopers to close a 3-mile section of the highway and creating chaos throughout the eastern part of the county as traffic was diverted onto local streets.

Police evacuated 1,300 students from Lake Worth High School,along with people from the Town & Country shopping center and the Holiday Mobile Home Park, to the west.

Midday service for both Amtrak and TriRail was interrupted.

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