Preventing accidents is the mantra of the West Manatee Fire Rescue fire prevention team.
But a crash witnessed by two WMFR officials shortly before 9 a.m. Sept. 27 on the Anna Maria Island Bridge was almost too dangerous to believe.
Keith Miller, a WMFR inspector, and Fire Marshal Jim Davis were westbound, on their way to safety inspections in Anna Maria, when they observed a dump truck traveling ahead of them jump the 9-inch curb between the roadway and the sidewalk on the bridge, hit the concrete guardrail, bounce back onto the road and barrel onward into Holmes Beach.
“We were on the bridge. Keith (Miller) is in front of me. Keith locks up and I lock up. And I’m watching my back because I thought for sure someone would hit me,” said Davis.
Both Miller and Davis said they assumed the dump truck driver would stop, but he didn’t. He drove on through Holmes Beach.
The WMFR officials followed the truck north on Gulf Drive and radioed Holmes Beach code enforcement officer JT Thomas.
Thomas said he alerted the Holmes Beach police department and Sgt. Mike Pilato caught up with the dump truck and pulled over the driver on Marina Drive near Key Royale Drive.
According to HBPD and WMFR reports, the Florida Highway Patrol — the agency mandated with overseeing the bridge — took over the arrest of the dump truck driver, who was ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident.
— Kathy Prucnell