Army Investigating Deadly Heavy-Duty Truck Accident in Florida

FILE PHOTO -- U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers load pallets of food onto a palletized loading system Thurs., Dec. 7, 2017, at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, California. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Airman Crystal Housman)
FILE PHOTO -- U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers load pallets of food onto a palletized loading system Thurs., Dec. 7, 2017, at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, California. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Airman Crystal Housman)

The U.S. Army is investigating a deadly heavy-duty truck accident that killed a specialist and injured five other National Guard soldiers, a spokeswoman said.

Spc. Luis E. Garcia, a member of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's Company G Forward Support Company, died in the three-vehicle accident on Jan. 19 near Sebring, Fla., according to a statement provided by the Florida Army National Guard.

The other soldiers were treated at a local hospital, according to the statement.

"My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of our fallen Soldier," Maj. Gen. Michael A. Calhoun, adjutant general of Florida, said in the statement. "We're also praying for the other Soldiers hurt in this tragic accident."

The incident occurred when three heavy-duty trucks, similar to tractor trailers and officially known as Palletized Load Systems, crashed into each other while en route to Avon Park for training, according to information provided by 1st Lt. Tahisha Coleman, a public affairs officer with the Florida Army National Guard.

No civilians were involved or injured in the collision.

As the Department of the Army's Safety Center continues to investigate the accident, there have been no changes to how soldiers use or operate the PLS, Coleman said.

The vehicle a 10-wheel tactical truck designed to carry cargo and shipping containers and is part of the Army's fleet of heavy-duty trucks known as the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles, or FHTV. The vehicles are manufactured by Oshkosh Corp., based in the Wisconsin city of the same name.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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