Witness watches I-4 fatal crash unfold in front of him

LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – A truck driver nearly found himself part of the crash Tuesday morning after he stopped just 200 feet away from the wreckage and debris.

Jonathon Rodriguez has driven a big rig for more than two years and in an exclusive interview told News Channel 8 that he was lucky he wasn’t part of the pile-up. He jumped out of his truck and tried to help the victims. He also took cell phone video in which you can hear him say, “Lord have mercy on your brother. Please tell me that you’re ok.”

RELATED: Troopers: 4 dead in crash on I-4 in Polk

There was no response from the driver of the van. It was moments before the Florida Highway Patrol arrived on the scene as their sirens could be heard in the distance.

You could see other drivers passing by having no idea what had just happened.

“Oh my God,” Rodriguez says as he tries to offer help.

His voice quivering, Rodriquez told News Channel 8, “I’m really lucky because I was just five seconds behind it. All I see is smoke and like a pickup truck almost in mid-air. The debris everywhere and everybody just running towards to see if they could help.”

With families now torn apart and others who survived the crash and drivers who nearly got caught up in the chain-reaction crash, the memories of what happened on I-4 in Lakeland on Tuesday will be etched in their minds forever.

“I thought about it the whole day today,” Rodriquez said.  “I couldn’t stop thinking about the families and how they just woke up this morning probably the same time I woke up to go to work or to do business and now they’re gone.”

After the accident, he called his wife and their two young children and told them he loved them.

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