Truck recovered after plunge into Sarasota Bay

A box truck that plunged off the Coon Key Bridge about 10 a.m. Monday, snarling traffic for hours along John Ringling Causeway, was pulled out of Sarasota Bay about 5 p.m., according to Sarasota police.

The 63-year-old driver of the Ferguson Enterprises truck was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries. He will be charged with careless driving, according to Sarasota police.

“We are very fortunate that our driver is OK. He was released from the hospital,” Denise Vaughn, senior communications director for Ferguson Enterprises, the owner of the box truck, said in a phone call Monday evening.

Ferguson Enterprises is a wholesale plumbing supply distributor, and was carrying the last of its load, a few faucets and fixtures, Vaughn said.

It was unknown what caused the box truck to plunge off the Coon Key Bridge.

Earlier in the day patrol officers worked to direct traffic westbound over the John Ringling Causeway Bridge and Coon Key Bridge and marine patrol officers were on the water assessing how to remove the box truck, police said in a news release.

Emergency workers wanted to ensure that the bridge was strong enough to support the weight of two cranes needed to remove the box truck from the water.

After officials were satisfied that cranes could be safely positioned there, the Florida Department of Transportation announced the bridge would be closed at 4 p.m. while the truck was lifted from the water. The work to remove the truck took about one hour. During that time, northbound traffic was detoured to the southbound lanes of Coon Key Bridge.

No roads were closed by the accident, and one westbound lane on the Coon Key Bridge remained open.

After the truck was pulled out of the water, Sarasota firefighters worked to soak up a small amount of leaked diesel fuel, and were transferring fuel remaining in the truck’s tanks before towing it.

The John Ringling Causeway connects downton Sarasota with St. Armands Circle and Lido Key.