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Navy vet escapes truck fire in Riverside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The driver of a truck that crashed and flipped Friday afternoon on Chelsea Street told News4Jax he was able to escape through a passenger window.

The driver, Michael Smith, said he was headed to a gas station when his brakes went out as he was exiting off the Fuller Warren Bridge at Park Street.

“I put my foot on the brakes and nothing,” Smith said. “(I) gained speed coming down off the off-ramp.”

Smith, a Navy veteran, said he was going 60 mph, but fortunately no one was at the intersection. 

He flew past a red light, took a curve and landed upside down on Chelsea Street.

“I got to the bottom of the street here and tried to make that turn but had too much speed and went through the telephone pole there,” Smith said. “(The truck) flipped upside down and caught on fire instantly.”

Smith said luckily a passenger window was blown out in the crash and he was able to crawl out of the truck before the flames engulfed it.

“I was in a plane crash in the Navy once, but this was scarier,” Smith said.

He said he's had the truck for 10 years and never had a problem with it before.