Ramp to I-375 closed for several weeks after fiery crash

| 3/30/2007
It could be several weeks before an interstate ramp in downtown St. Petersburg, FL, is reopened to traffic, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The ramp connecting Interstate 275 and I-375 was damaged Wednesday, March 28, when a trucker hauling 12,000 gallons of fuel southbound on I-275 apparently miscalculated a turn as he attempted to enter the ramp to I-375, Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Large told local media.

The trucker, Ronald Kennedy, 47, of Zephyrhills, FL, died in the resulting fire. He was bound for Sarasota with his load of diesel.

When the fuel from the tanker ignited, some witnesses told The Associated Press that they saw fiery diesel flowing down I-375 like lava. Fire also rained down on a city-owned lot below the overpass ramp, which started a secondary fire that caused $500,000 damage to city equipment there.

Florida DOT officials told media that one span of the overpass would have to be replaced and at least one of the columns supporting it would require repairs.