Fiery crash was like being in 'action movie,' survivor says

Wreck involving big rig truck blocked lanes of I-295 at Roosevelt for hours

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man who survived a fiery crash on I-295 said the car he was riding in spun across the highway and was pinned against a guardrail before a tractor-trailer burst into flames.

"It was like being in an action movie. It was like being in a film, except a lot scarier," Matthew Boyette said.

Boyette told News4Jax the crash was the result of another car that forced his mother, who was driving their car, to take evasive action. The crash, which occurred Monday on I-295 at Roosevelt Boulevard, blocked lanes of the highway for hours.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Mazda Miata and the semi were traveling north on the interstate when the Miata sideswiped the semi.

PREVIOUS STORY: I-295 lanes blocked Roosevelt Boulevard for hours after big rig fire

Boyette, who was in the Miata with his mother, said a red car that was merging onto the interstate from Roosevelt caused them to crash.

"They merged into us and I yelled, 'Look out!' and mom took evasive action," Boyette said. "I feel like we had a guardian angel looking out for us."

Boyette said his mother was forced into the same lane as the tractor-trailer, causing the crash. He said the driver of the red car sped off.

"I tried to get the license plate but by that time I lost line of sight because we were spinning out," he said.

According to Boyette, their car hit a guardrail and stopped about 50 feet from the semi, which also hit a guardrail and flipped. 

Suddenly, the semi caught fire. Boyette was concerned the truck driver didn't make it to safety.

"I heard the explosion before anything else. We were still seated in the car and I was checking on mom," Boyette said. "I didn't know if they got him out or not and just seeing what I was seeing, I couldn't imagine if they hadn't got him out already, how anyone could survive that because the flames were just raging."

The truck driver was taken to a hospital for treatment. FHP said his injuries were minor. Boyette's mother had a minor shoulder injury.

"We are super, super, super lucky to be alive," Boyette said. "It could have very easily gone a different way."

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