Florida I-75 south of Gainesville reopened after massive pileup
Ten people died when a dozen cars and six trucks collided Sunday in a smoke-enshrouded section of Interstate 75 in Florida. Late Monday morning, Interstate 75 south of Gainesville was reopened
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A short time later, Camps said, traffic stopped along the northbound lanes.Skip to next paragraph
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"You couldn't see anything. People were pulling off the road," he said.
Camps said he began talking about the road conditions to a man in the car stopped next to him when another vehicle hit that man's car.
The man's vehicle was crushed under a semi-truck stopped in front of them. Camps said his car was hit twice, but he and another friend were able to jump out. They took cover in the grass on the shoulder of the road.
All around them, cars and trucks were on fire, and they could hear explosions as the vehicles burned.
"It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind," he said, explaining that the scene "looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them."
Authorities had not released the names of victims Sunday evening, but said one passenger car had four fatalities. A "tour bus-like" vehicle also was involved in the pileup, police said.
All six lanes of the interstate were closed most of Sunday as investigators surveyed the site and firefighters put out the last of the flames. Some traffic was being diverted onto U.S. 301 and State Road 27, Riordan said. The northbound lanes were reopened at about 5:30 p.m.
At some point before the pileup, police briefly closed the highway because of fog and smoke. The road was reopened when visibility improved, police said. Riordan said he was not sure how much time passed between the reopening of the highway and the first crash.
A spokeswoman for the Florida Forest Service, Ludie Bond, said the fire began Saturday, and investigators were trying to determine whether the blaze had been intentionally set. She said there were no controlled burns in the area and no lightning.
Bond also said the fire had burned 62 acres and was contained but still burning Sunday. A similar fire nearby has been burning since mid-November because the dried vegetation is so thick and deep. No homes are threatened.
Four years ago, heavy fog and smoke were blamed for another serious crash.
In January 2008, four people were killed and 38 injured in a series of similar crashes on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa, about 125 miles south of Sunday's crash. More than 70 vehicles were involved in those crashes, including one pileup that involved 40 vehicles.
Associated Press writer Freida Frisaro in Miami contributed to this report.