A man who fell off the Howard Frankland bridge after an accident on Tuesday evening was rescued from Tampa Bay.
According to officials, the accident happened at 10 p.m. on the northbound side of the bridge at mile marker 34, causing serious backups.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Leonard Hicks, 34, of Zephyrhills, was driving a 2006 Ford F350 that was towing a trailer when the trailer separated, causing the truck to become disabled in the inside line.
Hicks and the truck's two passengers got out of the truck so they could secure the trailer.
At the same time, a 2004 Toyota Corolla driven by David Rivera, 24, of Kissimmee, was heading north in the left travel lane. Investigators said he didn't see the disabled truck and its trailer, and was not able to stop in time. As a result, he crashed into the rear of the trailer.
One of the truck's passengers, identified as Ismel Hernandez, 41, of Land O' Lakes, was trying to fix the trailer at the time. Troopers say he saw the Corolla approaching and jumped off the bridge and into the water to avoid being hit by the car.
Hernandez had to tread water until fire crews could arrive and retrieve him.
Rivera was flown to Tampa General Hospital as a trauma alert with serious injuries. There's no word as to his condition.
Hernandez was also transported to TGH for evaluation. Hicks and the second passenger, Steve Caraballo, 27, of New Port Richey, both sustained minor injuries as well.
Hicks was cited for an improper/unsecure load.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.