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Florida Interstate 75 Pileup Kills 10
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Early on Sunday, multiple cars and trucks collided along a stretch of a dark Florida highway that was covered in haze and smoke, causing drivers to be blinded instantly. At least 10 people were killed in the massive pileup. According to police, when rescuers arrived on scene they had to listen for screams from victims because the visibility was so poor over what was about a mile of wreckage.

The pileup occurred on Interstate 75 just south of Gainesville. Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the tragic accident. The stretch of the highway where the accident occurred was closed for a short time because of the fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire that might have been set intentionally. Close to one dozen cars and six tractor-trailers were involved in the accident, with some of them bursting into flames.

  
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Steven R. Camps, from Gainesville, said that he and a couple of friends were headed home a couple of hours before dawn when they were brought into the pileup.

“You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy,” he said. “If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of the world.”

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Right before Camps reached the fog bank, one of his friends driving in another vehicle in front of him called to warn of the accident and the severe fog as Camps approached the Paynes Prairie region south of Gainesville. Not much longer, Camps said that traffic stopped on the northbound lanes of the highway.

“You couldn’t see anything. People were pulling off the road,” he said.



Camps then said that as he was talking to a man in a car next to him about the road conditions, another car hit the car of the man he was speaking with on the road. That man’s car was crushed under a semi that was stopped in front of them. Camps said his car was struck twice but he and a friend were able to jump from the car. Both of them took cover on the grass in the shoulder.

“It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind,” he said. He explained that the scene “looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them.”

The highway runs almost the length of Florida and had all six lanes closed the majority of Sunday afternoon as a result of the accident. The I-75 northbound lanes reopened around 5:30 p.m. EST but the southbound lanes were still closed.

“Our standard operating procedure is to get the road open as quickly as possible but let’s not forget we have 10 people who are not with us today,” said Lt. Patrick Riordan, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman. “So we are going to take our time assessing the situation.”

Riordan did not know how much time elapsed between the opening of the highway after the visibility improved and when the first accident occurred.

Not four years ago, smoke and heavy fog attributed to a tragic accident on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa. The pileup killed four and injured 38. This accident occurred 125 miles south of the crash that occurred on Sunday. Close to 70 vehicles were involved in this accident with one pileup involving 40 vehicles.



 

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