I-95 fire

TANKER EXPLOSION BOCA RATON: New Details About The I-95 Disaster

Boca Raton Boynton Beach Delray Beach Florida News Palm Beach County

October Explosion Shut I-95 For Hours. We Know Who Was Cited, How Much Fuel Was On Tanker.

I-95 fire

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher 

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The explosion that rocked Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and shut I-95 for hours in late October was all started by a Boca Raton man who allegedly changed lanes on I-95 without looking. BocaNewsNow.com exclusively obtained the final investigative report — and citations issued — in the crash that led to the explosion which could be seen for miles and left three people critically burned.

BocaNewsNow.com has learned that Robert Michael Hall, 53, driving a Mercedes, allegedly changed lanes illegally, starting the chain of events leading to the explosion. 

According to Florida Highway Patrol, Hall in his Mercedes, Edward Vazquez of Davie driving the tanker, and Carlos Rios of Hallandale driving a Volkswagen Jetta, were all traveling northbound on I-95. Hall, in his Mercedes, was in lane number 1 — the HOV lane. The tanker was in front of the Jetta in lane number 2. A Honda Accord driven by Anthony Erale of Coral Springs, and a Jeep Cherokee driven by Ronnie Lynn Davenport of Boynton Beach, were both driving southbound on I-95.  

The scene, moments after the initial explosion on October 27th on the Boca Raton/Delray Beach border.

FHP investigators say that Robert Michael Hall, for reasons that are unclear, “changed lanes and moved to the right side of the tanker, resulting in the left side of his Mercedes striking the right side of the tanker. After the initial impact between the Mercedes and the tanker, the driver of the tanker swerved to the left and lost control. The tanker began to travel in a northwest direction off the roadway onto the left inside shoulder, as the trailer overturned onto its right side in the inside lane (the HOV lane). Subsequently, the left side of the tanker collided with the concrete traffic barrier wall and the tractor overturned onto its right side. After the tractor/tanker collided with the concrete traffic barrier wall, a light pole fell onto the southbound lanes of I-95.”

Like a scene from a movie, the chain reaction crash got worse. Again, from Florida Highway Patrol:

“In order to avoid a collision with the tanker, the Jetta driver attempted to take evasive action but subsequently lost control of the vehicle. The Jetta traveled in a northwest direction onto the left inside shoulder. As a result, the left side of the Jetta collided with the concrete traffic barrier wall and came to final rest in the area of impact. The Accord and the Jeep, both traveling southbound, did not have time to avoid the falling light post. Subsequently, the Honda’s windshield and roof collided with the base of the light post, and the Jeep’s front left collided with the top of the light post.” Upon contact with the ground, the tank portion of the tanker containing fuel was ruptured and exposed to oxygen, and sparks generated ignited the fuel, which led to the explosion. 

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FHP diagram of the crash, obtained by BocaNewsNow.com.

The Jetta driver and two rear-seat passengers suffered serious burns and were ultimately transported to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center for care.  Investigators later learned that the tanker carried 999 gallons of premium fuel, 3002 gallons of diesel, and 4000 gallons of unleaded gasoline. 

Robert Hall was cited for making an improper lane change, while tanker driver Edward Vazquez was cited for failing to obey traffic. 

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