17th Street Bridge reopen after crash that injured woman


Update: Police reopened the 17th Street Bridge Wednesday afternoon following a two-vehicle wreck that left a woman with serious injuries, officials said. Officers closed the bridge for nearly three hours as investigators combed the scene.

Tow trucks removed the vehicles from the bridge. The bridge was reopened to traffic about 4:20 p.m., according to Vero Beach police.


Earlier story:

VERO BEACH — A woman was seriously hurt in a head-on, two-vehicle crash that blocked eastbound and westbound traffic Wednesday on the 17th Street Bridge, police and fire rescue crews said. The wreck caused heavy traffic delays.

“She was awake and conscious,” said Richard Marini, Assistant Fire Chief. Vero Beach police asked motorists to avoid the area.

The collision involving a Volvo sports utility vehicle and a landscape truck with a trailer happened as severe thunderstorms swept through Vero Beach. Police and fire rescue crews responded to the crash about 1:30 p.m. on the south side of the bridge, officially known as the Alma Lee Loy Bridge.

“It happened at the top of the bridge just shy of the crust,” said Kelsea Callahan, spokesperson for the Vero Beach Police Department.

The north side of the bridge was already closed for repairs. Motorists were using makeshift eastbound and westbound lanes on the south side of the bridge.

The woman, who was driving the Volvo, was taken by ambulance to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital in Fort Pierce, Marini said. It was unclear when the bridge was expected to reopen.

Vero Beach began receiving reports of thunderstorms about 1 p.m., with 17 mph northwest winds packing strong 38 mph gusts, said Melissa Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The crackling thunderstorms were just south of the Vero Beach Regional Airport about 1:30 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for Indian River County until 5 p.m., according to meteorologists. There is a 60 percent chance of storms this afternoon and a 30 percent chance later tonight.

“The storms are steadily shifting southward,” Watson said. “Everyone needs to make sure they have multiple ways to receive warnings.”

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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