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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Update: I-75 lanes reopening following 10-fatality crash

<p>An Alachua County Fire Rescue Worker carries a hose through the wreckage of a semitrailer involved the southbound accident on Interstate 75 Sunday afternoon.&nbsp; The north and southbound accident claimed a total of 10 lives.</p>

An Alachua County Fire Rescue Worker carries a hose through the wreckage of a semitrailer involved the southbound accident on Interstate 75 Sunday afternoon.  The north and southbound accident claimed a total of 10 lives.

Florida Highway Patrol opened the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 around 5:42 p.m. Sunday after a series of early morning wrecks left 10 dead.

Lt. Patrick Riordan said officials are still working to clear vehicles from the southbound lanes, but he expects them to reopen by 9 p.m.

The accidents, involving 18 or 19 vehicles, occured around 4 a.m. as a result of low visibility due to heavy smoke and fog from a Paynes Prairie brush fire.

Police had closed the interstate shortly after midnight Sunday due to the smoke, but it was reopened when the decision was made that visibility was OK a few hours later.

I-75 is currently closed in both directions from mile marker 368 to the Williston Road exit while the incident is being investigated and emergency workers clear the scene.

According to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan, the first call came in around 4 a.m.

There were two accidents - one in the northbound lane and one in the southbound.

Many of the cars involved were badly compressed, and two semitrailers in the southbound lane exploded.

Eighteen people hurt in the wreck were being treated at Shands at UF, according to Dr. Timothy Flynn, chief medical officer. Of those, six were admitted to the Level 1 Trauma Center and 12 were in the emergency department.

The six patients in trauma care remain in the hospital in critical condition, Flynn said. Four of the emergency room patients are still in the hospital.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

An Alachua County Fire Rescue Worker carries a hose through the wreckage of a semitrailer involved the southbound accident on Interstate 75 Sunday afternoon.  The north and southbound accident claimed a total of 10 lives.

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State Troopers survey damage to a Toyota Matrix at the site of a series of accidents on Interstate 75 in both directions Sunday afternoon.

The burnt frame of a semitrailer sits on Interstate 75 Sunday afternoon.  The vehicle was involved in an accident early Sunday morning.

Wreckage from a semitrailer smolders on Interstate 75 on Sunday afternoon.  The multiple-vehicle accident occured early Sunday morning and claimed at least 10 lives.

A burnt FedEx semitrailer sits on Interstate 75 on Sunday after Alachua County Fire Rescue workers extinguished the fire.  The semitrailer was one of an estimated 20-23 vehicles involved in a massive accident early Sunday morning.

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