84-year-old man dies in canal after wreck; Moore Haven man and Clewiston man crash

An 84-year-old Moore Haven man would be reported dead following an accident in Hendry County this week.

John Howard Smith, 84, of Moore Haven, succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the wreck, and his body was recovered by responding emergency crews.

The accident happened on Thursday, Jan. 28, at approximately 8:16 p.m. on County Road 833, reports the Florida Highway Patrol.

FHP investigators believe that a 2004 Ford Excursion driven by Michael Ronnie Doctor, 27, of Clewiston, headed southbound on County Road 833 and hauling a wide trailer, struck the front side of a 1987 Toyota pickup truck that was being driven by John Howard Smith, 84, of Moore Haven. The Excursion vehicle was also carrying passenger Leslie Renee Fish, 33, of Hollywood.

It may have been the wide trailer’s front that sent the pickup truck toward a northwest direction, crossing into the southbound lane and onto the west shoulder of County Road 833. The pickup truck would then overturn into a nearby canal, completely submerging the vehicle.

Later, when the vehicle was recovered from the water, the body of the Moore Haven man who was driving it at the time of the accident was recovered from the truck.

Officials with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office do not know if the elderly man, or the driver of the Excursion or his passenger, was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. Alcohol is also not believed to have taken part in the fatal wreck, according to Florida Highway Patrol officials. Neither of the Excursion’s occupants required hospital attention.

According to information released by FHP, charges may be pending for some of those involved in the fatal wreck.

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