One soldier was killed and five others injured in a three-vehicle collision on Friday, according to officials with the Florida National Guard.
Spc. Luis Garcia, the driver of one of the vehicles, was fatally injured, officials said. Garcia was from Homestead, Florida, said the officials quoted in a WFLA news report.
The soldiers were in a convoy of three palletized load systems — heavy cargo vehicles similar to tractor-trailers — when the vehicles collided near Sebring, Florida, according to a statement from the Florida National Guard.
A preliminary investigation found the PLS vehicles, assigned to a Guard unit out of Miami, collided in a chain-reaction crash, officials said. The convoy was traveling on a highway when the third vehicle didn’t stop for a red light in time and hit the second vehicle, officials said in the WFLA report.
The five soldiers injured were transported to area hospitals, and none of them had life-threatening injuries, police said.
No civilian vehicles were involved. The Florida National Guard and Sebring Police Department are investigating the crash, WFLA reported.
“My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of our fallen soldier,” said Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun, Florida’s adjutant general, said in the statement. “We’re also praying for the other soldiers hurt in this tragic accident.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement, saying “The entire Florida National Guard family is grieving the loss of Specialist Luis Garcia this weekend. The Florida National Guard are the best in the country and always put the safety and security of others first. Ann and I join our brave National Guard, Specialist Garcia’s family and all Floridians in honoring his service. Our prayers will remain with those closest to Specialist Garcia during this difficult time and for a full recovery to those injured in the accident.”