Cigarette, inattention to blame for I-97 crash

Lots of different kinds of distractions can lead to car accidents. Even smoking a cigarette, as one crash in Northwest Florida shows. When drivers concentrate on something besides keeping their eyes on the road, the consequences can be serious.

Four people were riding in a vehicle on Interstate 97 in Molino over the weekend. The driver of the 2012 Chevrolet Impala, a 56-year-old man from out of state, was reportedly smoking a cigarette at the time. He apparently dropped it inside the car. As he leaned down to get it, the car veered onto the shoulder.

The car then hit a tree, causing one of the front tires to tear off the vehicle. The Impala then hit a second tree, causing the other front tire to come off. In addition, the driver’s side door was ripped off the car entirely.

Photos posted to North Escambia’s website show heavy damage to the front and driver’s side of the vehicle, with deployed airbags. The extent of the driver and passengers’ injuries was not known, although all of them were taken by ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.

Several departments, including the Escambia County EMS, the Molino Station of Escambia Fire Rescue and the Escambia County sheriff’s office, responded to the accident, which apparently shut down the road for about a half-hour.

Accidents like this one show that taking your eyes off the roadway, even for a brief moment, can cause a serious crash. Please drive safely.

Source: North Escambia, “Four injured in Hwy 97 crash caused by cigarette,” April 1, 2012