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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Gov. Rick Scott launches investigation of Florida Highway Patrol

At the request of Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has started an investigation into the car crashes that claimed 11 lives on Interstate 75.

Scott requested the investigation Monday, FDLE Communications Coordinator Keith Kameg said.

Investigators want to find out why the interstate was reopened a few hours after being closed shortly after midnight Sunday due to poor visibility.

"During this tragic time, our thoughts and prayers should be with the victims and their families," said a statement on the governor's website.

FDLE's Office of the Inspector General will coordinate the investigation. When the report is complete, FDLE will turn it over to the governor' office.

There is no timeline on the report, Kameg said, and he was unable to provide further information.

"We got it yesterday and we're putting it together today," he said.

While there are many things investigators hope to find out about the cause of the crashes, some things are already known.

The Alachua County Fire Department issued no permits for controlled burns inside Gainesville city limits last week, said Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Jeff Lane.

One permit was issued retroactively for a person using a fire northwest of Gainesville, but that fire couldn't have spread to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, he said.

The Florida Forest Service authorized a 70-acre pasture burn near Archer, but it was quite far from Paynes Prairie, said FFS spokeswoman Ludie Bond.

Bond said controlled burns were ruled out as the cause of the fire on Sunday.

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