February 18, 2010- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) employee Elizabeth Overstreet was driving a FWCC truck northbound on U.S. Highway 1 near Marathon, Florida, while towing a trailer and an enormous 31-foot fishing boat. Overstreet was driving at the posted speed limit of 55 mph when she realized that the trailer and boat she was towing began to fishtail from side to side. Overstreet suddenly lost all control of the trailer and boat, which caused the FWCC truck to jackknife directly into oncoming traffic in the middle of the open freeway.
At that time, Ruth was driving her van in the southbound lane with a friend to visit friends and family in Big Pine Key. Suddenly, and without warning, Ruth noticed the FWCC truck barreling directly into her only path on the freeway, and she immediately made a defense maneuver in a desperate attempt to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, there was no escaping the FWCC truck, which ultimately plowed directly into Ruth Ann’s van. The tragic result was a massive head-on collision and explosion with two fatalities and catastrophic injuries to the survivors.
Ruth miraculously survived the collision and ensuing explosion, but her nightmare had just begun. At 5:26 pm, she was loaded onto a stretcher for emergency airlift to Jackson Memorial Trauma unit with nine broken bones and bleeding profusely from numerous lacerations on her face. During this helicopter flight to the trauma unit, Ruth was forced to ponder the gruesome images of her beloved friend’s mangled body which remained lifeless in Ruth’s van.