Six dead, eight injured in U.S. highway crash

Fiery multi-vehicle I-75 crash kills six, injures eight north of Gainesville | Bradenton Herald

The highway patrol described the crash as a chain-reaction set off by Holland's semi-truck about 3:40 p.m. Thursday in Alachua County.

Troopers closed I-75 in both directions and rerouted southbound traffic at U.S. Highway 441 and northbound traffic at State Road 26.

The van was an hour north of the theme park when Holland's tractor-trailer heading in the opposite direction on Interstate 75 collided with a vehicle and both burst through the center divider.

The station reported that he was driving north on Interstate 75 on January 3 when he veered into another vehicle, lost control, and passed over the center divider, hitting the church van with children inside as well as another truck.

Riordan said a fifth vehicle came through and either struck people who had been ejected from the vehicle or debris.

A big-rig truck and midsize sedan travelling north on Interstate 75 collided, overtook a guardrail and drove into the southbound lane, said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan.

"They delivered her baby last night, and the baby is going to be OK".

It's unknown if they were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision, the highway patrol said in news release.

"He drove a lot, he was into cars, Uncle Steve loved cars and boxing".

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Following the crash, northbound lanes were closed for several hours as an accident reconstruction team investigated the crash. Investigators are now working to find any witnesses who saw the 41-year-old man driving the pickup truck prior to the crash.

"It's a very sad day here", he said.

The fire has since been put out with a huge black wreckage being seen on the carriageway. The fire was ignited after about 189 litres of diesel spilled onto the highway, authorities said.

The van was an hour north of the theme park Thursday when a tractor-trailer heading in the opposite direction on Interstate 75 collided with a vehicle and both burst through the center divider. Five children from ages 9 to 14 in the van died. In addition, nine children were also on the van.

Five children and both truck drivers died. The other lady is not as severely injured, but is still in the hospital.

Officials confirmed that five children were among those killed in the fiery crash.

"If you're a parent or a grandparent and you have children it makes you think of your own". They remain hospitalized, as did Karen Descant. Please pray for the healing of those physical injuries. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her and all other families affected by this tragedy.

It appeared other vehicles traveling with the same group as the van weren't involved in the accident.

The Rev. Carolyn Fletcher, who presided over Sunday's service at Marksville United Methodist Church, said they collected money for the families and prayed for the victims and their families.

Florida Department of Transportation Troy Roberts said the agency is investigating whether the guardrail should have stopped the northbound crash from crossing the highway or whether the crash was too traumatic.

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