Boy Scout Troop Miraculously Escapes Fiery Wreck With No Major Injuries

Eleven people are okay following a fiery wreck in Okeechobee County Saturday morning.

According to the Archdiocese of Miami, seven boy scouts and four leaders are all fine following the crash. The Archdiocese said the troop meets at St. Rose of Lima in Miami Shores.

Images from the scene show debris scattered all over the highway.

"We were driving back from summer camp," said Mikey Palmatier, a survivor from the crash. "It was me, our scout master and another boy in the car and we were just pulling over because we were a mile away from a rest stop and we had just run out of gas so we were pulling over so they could get gas."

Palmatier's grandfather Roger was a scout leader on the trip. He was in another car on the Turnpike, as they were returning from Ocala where they spent a week. 

Okeechobee County Fire Rescue said the incident happened on the Turnpike near mile marker 187. They said the fire involved a vehicle and a cargo truck hauling produce.

"I saw this big 'boosh,' you know, big black smoke," said Roger. "So now, I just left the gas tank where we were, I didn't want to carry it up there, I didn't need it. And at that time, we didn't know anything."

It turns out the explosion they saw on the highway was the SUV his grandson was traveling in. Another teenager and a scout master were also in the SUV. They had been hit by a big rig truck, that also went up in flames.

"It was just a shock," said Mikey. "I just remember seeing my scout master and I was on the phone with another scout master. All of a sudden, I see the window crack and my master's face went forward, and then my face went forward."

Mikey, who is a senior patrol leader within Troop 305 which meets in Miami Shores, says he doesn't recall how long it took before the vehicles caught fire. Their focus was on everyone being safe.

"My scoutmaster was able to go over and help the driver of the truck," said Mikey. "And when I jumped out, I helped the other boy inside, who only sustained minor injuries, thank God."

Everyone in both vehicles returned home to South Florida safely.

FHP's accident report did not say what caused the truck to hit the SUV. It did not mention if the driver of the truck was charged with anything. 

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