• Veteran escapes burning, flipped truck in Riverside

    Updated:

    Michael Smith, an 18-year Navy veteran, said his brakes went out, causing him to crash into a pole in Riverside on Friday.

    The truck flipped over and burst into flames.

    A tow truck just hauled away the burnt remains of the truck. But the damage left behind was substantial.

    The fire charred and snapped a power pole, knocking out power to three buildings.

    JEA crews are still working to restore the power.

    A witness gave Action News Jax cellphone video of the truck fire.

    Smith said he crawled out the passenger window and made it out with just scratches on his arms and hands from the glass.

    He described the moment he realized he was going to crash.

    “As it was happening, it just seemed to take forever as I was flipping over and stuff. I don’t know what else to say. I’m lucky to be here,” Smith said.

    Smith said he didn’t even have to call 911, because there was a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in a nearby parking lot when he crashed.

    Smith lost his phone and wallet in the fire but said he feels lucky to have escaped without being burned.

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