47 vehicles, no fatalities in I-75 pileup
The Florida Highway Patrol reported the shuttered portions of Interstate 75 were reopened around 9:09 p.m. Friday.
The FHP states there were 12 separate collisions in the incident. The agency updated the number of people who were taken to area hospitals to 22. Again, although two people who were critical were flown to the hospital, no one had life-threatening injuries.
According to the report, several commercial vehicles were involved in the pileup, but there were no hazmat spills.
The FHP did state stormy weather played a part in the crashes, but the agency noted any possible charges are pending further investigation.
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SARASOTA — At least 52 people were injured Friday, and Interstate 75 southbound was closed at University Parkway at the Manatee-Sarasota county line, following a crash that involved at least 47 vehicles.
The massive pileup occurred at 3:11 p.m. As of 7 p.m. Friday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported serious injuries, but no fatalities.
At least two people had to be extracted from their vehicles, with three patients transported by Bayflite helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported. Twenty-one patients were transported to area hospitals.
A tanker was possibly leaking liquid calcium, “which I understand is not considered hazardous,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Wendy Rose said.
Cars and trucks were scattered like toys across the overpass, with varying degrees of damage, according to FOX13-TV.
“Emergency crews were working in small clusters while others — presumably the drivers — lingered around their vehicles,” FOX reported. There was a storm in the area at the time of the crash, and troopers said that may have played a role.
Howie Grace with WINK News was at the scene Friday and said he counted at least 18 tow trucks at the accident scene more than three hours after it occurred, at 6:30 p.m.
Northbound I-75 was open but was backed up several miles, Grace reported.
The Sarasota County Fire Department had 18 units on the scene, with the Manatee County Fire Department also providing assistance. The Red Cross was called in to assist with firefighter rehab at the scene.
Two Charlotte County Fire/EMS vehicles headed to Venice to help man the station at Center Road after Venice emergency vehicles left to help out at the accident scene, according to Dee Hawkins, spokeswoman for the Charlotte agency.
“It’s not uncommon that we call for mutual aid,” Hawkins said.
The city of North Port’s Fire Rescue District sent a rescue unit to help man Station 26 in Sarasota, according to North Port Fire Marshal Michael Frantz.
“The fire stations in Sarasota were needing coverage because they were busy with the major crash. We did what we could to help them,” Frantz said.
Exit 213 was closed due to the multi-vehicle crash. The exit ramp southbound was reopened by 7 p.m., according to a Sarasota County EMS update, Rose reported.
FHP rerouted motorists traveling southbound on I-75 to exit at State Road 70 and re-enter the Interstate at Fruitville Road, at mile marker 210.
The accident scene just south of the University Parkway exit was actually a series of crashes, according to the Bradenton Herald.
There was a light rain when the accident happened, the Bradenton Herald reported. A slight hill in the area most likely contributed to the wreck, with motorists not being able to slow down or stop in time to avoid the wreckage that was taking place in front of them, officials said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the southbound lanes in I-75 would be closed for “an extended amount of time.”