HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- It was likely an accident, but the search is on for whoever dropped a piece of debris along I-275 this past Friday in Tampa. The hunk of metal killed a Tampa man who was driving near Lois Avenue at about 2 p.m.
Rosa Landin and her husband still can't believe it.
It was their son, 33-year-old Leonardo Landin who died from severe injuries hours after a piece of debris crashed through his pickup truck's windshield.
“He was hard working. All the time,” said the victim’s father, speaking through a translator.
The Florida Highway Patrol thinks the debris was likely an auto part, perhaps a brake drum, which could have fallen off the back of a vehicle. But so far, they don't know who is responsible.
“We would like to know where the case came from where the debris came from. We don’t think this is something intentional,” said FHP Public Information officer Steve Gaskins.
According to AAA, there are about 50,000 crashes each year linked to road debris, resulting in around 10,000 injuries.
In 2016, Florida Dept. of Transportation show nearly 200 tons of material being collected on Tampa Bay Area roads alone, including nearly 12 tons of tires.
“In the last three years that we have efficient numbers, we're looking at almost 4,000 cases of load loss or debris in the roadway that has caused some type of crash,” said Sgt. Gaskins.
Debris can come at you quickly, especially when you're driving at highway speeds.
The Florida Highway Patrol recommends that you try to scan the area in front of you at all times. Also, try to keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles ahead, and keep an eye to the left and the right of you, in case you suddenly have to maneuver to get out of the way of something coming at you.
Landin's parents ask that people do a better job securing materials and reporting debris in the road.
Of the thousands of injuries, transportation officials say on average 125 people are killed each year in road debris crashes.
Leonardo Landin, now sadly, among them.
“We want to know what happened,” said Landin’s father, “Because nobody knows what happened.”
Since the accident happened at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon Friday, in the southbound lanes of I-275 near Lois Avenue in Tampa, it’s possible there are witnesses out there who could help FHP find answers for the family.
If you think you think you might have witnessed something related to the accident, you're asked to reach out to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Landin was incapacitated by the impact and lost control of the truck, which collided with a concrete barrier wall and then a guardrail. He later died.
Watch 10News tonight for reporter Eric Glasser's story on the hazards of road debris and what you can do to avoid these road hazards.