Off-Duty Fort Lauderdale Firefighter Struck and Killed

BOCA RATON – An off-duty Fort Lauderdale firefighter and Jupiter resident is dead after he was hit by a car Tuesday morning on Interstate 95 while trying to change a tire on his car.

Kevin Johns, 48, pulled over to the side of southbound I-95 to fix a flat tire near the Yamato Road exit around 7 a.m., Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Mark Wysocky said. While he was changing the tire, Johns was struck by a Hyundai Sonata after it hit another vehicle in slow traffic.

Johns was transported to Delray Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 1:09 p.m., Wysocky said.

Property records show Johns, who was married with three children, had lived in Jupiter since at least 2002. Johns was a 29-year veteran of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, according to an agency spokesman.

Family and fellow firefighters gathered for a procession from the hospital to the Palm Beach County medical examiner’s office on Tuesday afternoon with Johns’ body draped in an American flag.

Among the outpouring of sympathy toward Johns Tuesday on social media was a tweet from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue: “Deepest sympathy to our @FtLaudFire brothers/sisters and the family of Lt. Kevin Johns on their loss. Rest in peace, brother.”

Johns was standing at the right rear corner of his car when he was struck by the Hyundai driven by West Palm Beach resident Lorenza G. Simmons, the FHP said.

Simmons attempted to avoid a Toyota Rav4 that was slowing for traffic and veered to the right. The Hyundai was unable to avoid the collision and hit the Toyota in the right rear. The momentum carried the Hyundai off the road, hitting Johns.

Charges against Simmons are pending, Wysocky said. The driver of the Toyota, Yurizan Haramboure Duque of West Palm Beach, was not injured and is not facing charges.

Florida’s “move over” law, in effect since 2002, did not apply in this case because Johns’ car was not a law enforcement, emergency or utility crew vehicle. The law states that a driver must move out of the lane closest to one of those vehicles if the road has two or more lanes traveling in the same direction.

Tuesday’s crash, which occurred near where the interstate narrows from five lanes to four, caused a massive traffic backup that eventually stretched 12 miles — all the way to Hypoluxo Road, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Twitter: @metromattmorgan Twitter: @jorgemilian1

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