SEBRING, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida National Guard solider is dead and five others were injured after a chain reaction crash involving military vehicles in Sebring, according to officials.
The deceased soldier was identified Saturday as Spc. Luis E. Garcia from the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s Company G Forward Support Company.
“We are heartbroken for his surviving family and the guardsman who counted him as a brother. As a family we need to support each other through times like this. If you or one of your family members need assistance with this loss, please reach out to your chain of command and chaplain. #AlwaysThere,” The Florida National Guard wrote on Facebook.
A preliminary investigation revealed three Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicles, which are assigned to a National Guard unit out of Miami, collided in a chain reaction crash, according to officials.
Officials said the convoy was traveling north on the highway when the third vehicle failed to stop for a red light in time and hit the second vehicle, officials said.
The driver of the third vehicle sustained fatal injuries, according to investigators.
Officials said the passenger had to be extricated from the damaged vehicle.
According to officials, the passenger and four others were taken to area hospitals. Police said they suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The crash left traffic bumper to bumper for more than nine hours. Motorists were advised to avoid the area.
The Florida National Guard and Sebring Police Department are investigating the crash.
Florida Governor Rick Scott released the following statement regarding Sgt. Garcia’s passing:
The entire Florida National Guard family is grieving the loss of Specialist Luis Garcia this weekend. The Florida National Guard are the best in the country and always put the safety and security of others first. Ann and I join our brave National Guard, Specialist Garcia’s family and all Floridians in honoring his service. Our prayers will remain with those closest to Specialist Garcia during this difficult time and for a full recovery to those injured in the accident.”