The Deadliest Mile Strikes Again: Fatal Crash on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale

A new study found that this is the deadliest one-mile stretch of highway in the country.
A new study found that this is the deadliest one-mile stretch of highway in the country. via 1 Point21 Interactive, Elk & Elk
Earlier this month, New Times reported about a study that examined 20 years of fatal crash data across the United States and found that the stretch of I-95 between I-595 and State Road 84 is the "deadliest mile in America."

"There are deficiencies that are currently claiming lives, day in and day out," Mike Arias, a local public roadway safety advocate, told New Times in early March, citing high speeds, complicated entrance and exit ramps, poor visibility of the roadway and overhead signs as some of the most egregious problems there.

Less than four weeks later, the infamous stretch of I-95 has claimed another life.

Early Tuesday morning, NBC 6 reports, a 31-year-old man from Davie was killed after his silver Chevy Silverado hit and went over a concrete guardrail on the I-95 entrance ramp from State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale and fell into a construction zone below. The driver was ejected and died at the scene. Investigators have not yet released the victim's name.

The pickup collided with another vehicle parked inside the construction zone that had a passenger inside who was not injured.

"Yes, people will keep dying unless things change," Arias tells New Times. "We have outdated infrastructure that's less safe than it could be, and that's why we, unfortunately, have these tragic incidents."

Florida Highway Patrol did not respond to a call and email from New Times on Tuesday seeking comment about the fatal crash.

Guillermo Canedo, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation's District 4, which includes Broward and Palm Beach counties, tells New Times he cannot comment on the crash, citing the ongoing investigation.

Canedo, however, noted that the construction zone where the pickup truck landed is part of the ongoing years-long 95 Express Phase 3C project, which will add one lane for motorists in each direction on I-95 and convert the existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes into express lanes on a nine-mile stretch of I-95 from Stirling Road in Hollywood to Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

"These are capacity improvements to help manage the congestion here in southeast Florida," Canedo says. "We have basically run out of room and we can't widen I-95 even more."

From Saturday night through Sunday morning, I-95 northbound and southbound lanes at the State Road 84 interchange will be temporarily closed as crews place a newly constructed State Road 84 westbound bridge over I-95. FHP will be on-site to help motorists detour onto I-595, U.S. 1, U.S. 441, and Davie Boulevard.

While this weekend's upcoming improvement will not affect the existing I-95 entrance ramps from State Road 84, where Tuesday's accident occurred, the overall project, which is slated to be completed by 2025, lists "I-95/SR 84 interchange modifications" that include increased signage and lighting.

Last year, Canedo says, flashing lights and rumble strips "to jar people's attention" were installed on the southbound entrance ramp onto I-95 from State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale after a woman driving a Mercedes-Benz SUV plunged nearly 20 feet over the concrete guardrail and two men in a Cadillac SUV hit the same concrete guardrail and similarly fell off the same southbound entrance ramp onto I-95 within a span of roughly 24 hours last May.

"Everything the department does is to make the roadways safer," Canedo notes.

While those three victims survived, 17-year-old Letroy Martin, Jr., died after crashing into the concrete guardrail on the I-95 exit ramp onto State Road 84 in August 2017. Last March, a 48-year-old man died after flipping over the guardrail in a pickup truck on the I-95 exit ramp onto State Road 84. 

According to the aforementioned study — which was conducted by 1Point21 Interactive digital agency and the Elk & Elk personal injury law firm and looked at more than 91,000 accidents — that stretch of I-95 saw nearly 50 times the number of fatal car accidents than the average highway mile: Between 2000 and 2019, 24 people died in 23 car crashes.
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson