Hardeep Singh Mander, 28, of Bakersfield, CA, driving semi-tractor and trailer combination was westbound about 5:41 a.m. Tuesday on US 41 in the Everglades near Big Cypress Swamp 2 miles east of 11 Mile Road in Collier county as a box truck was eastbound on US 41 with several of its passengers in the box compartment.
As the vehicles approached each other the semi drifted left and crossed over the center line. The left front struck the left front of the box truck in a side-swipe type collision. After impact, the semi crossed the eastbound lane of US 41 and came to rest facing southwest in the wooded south shoulder where it caught fire.
The left side of the truck box compartment was opened by the collision and the truck crossed the westbound lane of US 41 and stuck the guardrail that parallels the north side of the roadway. This secondary collision caused the two injured passengers of the truck to be ejected from the vehicle and into the canal along the north shoulder of US 41. It came to final rest facing east and against the guardrail.
The passenger, Shivani Benimadhu in the semi was transported to Physicians Regional Hospital on Collier Blvd where she succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased.
Passenger in the truck Vecente Vasquez Gordillo, 21 and Raul Gonzalez, 26 of Immokalee, FL were seriously injured.
A non-criminal citation was filed against the semi driver, Hardeep Mander for failure to maintain a single lane.