MARCO ISLAND — A Marco Island teen was driving home alone from football practice Tuesday night when he lost control of his sports utility vehicle and flipped it into the wooded area along the side of Collier Boulevard just north of the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge.
"I was cut off and I must have hit my brakes too hard. They locked up," said the young man who wouldn't give his name on the scene.
His vehicle sat visibly smoking while on its left side as he held up a bloody right hand.
Despite his vehicle's smashed windshield and extensive damage, the teen athlete made it out with no more than a couple scratches on his hand.
Off-duty Marco Island firefighter Chris Bowden arrived on the scene before any of the on-duty emergency responders and helped to stabilize the driver. He also had assistance from a female who wouldn't give her name, but said she was a witness and also an off-duty EMT.
Isles of Capri Fire Chief Emilio Rodriguez said it appeared the young driver may have over-corrected and lost control on the soft shoulder: "He got real lucky. I guess he had his seat belt on from what we could tell."
The accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. leaving all southbound traffic headed to the Island on Collier Boulevard at a stand-still for about half an hour.
By about 7:15 p.m., the vehicle was safely cooled by firefighters, and Marco Island police and Collier County Sheriff's Office officials secured the scene and began directing traffic, opening up one of the southbound lanes.
The young man was treated on the scene by Collier County EMS. He left, with a bandaged right hand, getting a ride home from his father. His dad, with his arm around his son, said he didn't feel comfortable commenting.