DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. – A semi-truck and a pickup truck hauling beehives crashed on U.S. 301 early Tuesday morning in Duval County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Thousands of loose bees swarmed around the truck on the highway near I-10, FHP said, but the bees were not aggressive, they were just flying around the hives.
Jewel Strong was working at the Travel Center that was just a few feet away when the crash happened.
“We were just chilling minding our business doing our thing and that’s when you heard a loud boom! I’m like, ‘Oh wow!’ It was crazy,” Strong said.
Trent Padgett, the owner of Jesup Bee Company, based out of Jesup, Georgia, was driving his pickup truck, which was headed toward Lawtey to make some honey.
Padgett said he lost a good portion of the bees in the crash.
“We both had a green light, but the semi-truck made a U-turn there without a turn signal, and I didn’t see it coming so I just hit right at the front end of the truck,” Padgett said, describing the crash from his point of view. “A lot of bees got lost. A lot of them flew away. There’s a lot of dead bees on the highway that came from those boxes.”
Due to this “sticky” situation, Padgett is looking at about $40,000 worth of lost bees and expects total damages to reach up to $80,000.
“We probably lost about 25 to 30 hives completely,” Padgett said.
The beekeeper did not have bee insurance but hopes the semi-truck driver’s insurance will cover some of the damages.
“He was at fault,” Padgett insisted. “Hopefully, they’ll cover the damages. We’ll just have to negotiate.”
FHP has not updated its report on the crash, which just says the tractor trailer and bee truck “collided” at 3:15 a.m. on U.S. 301.
No injuries were reported from the crash, according to FHP.
The semi was hauled away just before 7 a.m., and the beehive company loaded the undamaged hives onto another truck and left the scene.
The remaining damaged hives remained on the trailer with bees swarming around them Tuesday morning.