HIGH SPRINGS/LAKE CITY ‒ A Jan.1 multi-car crash on Interstate 75 involved 21 vehicles and three fatalities. The 12:40 a.m. accident occurred at northbound mile marker 414, the U.S. Highway 441 High Springs/Lake City exit, and required road closure for s12 hours while the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) investigated the scene.
For reasons yet to be determined, a series of collisions occurred as the 21 vehicles were traveling north on I-75. According to the FHP, the vehicles involved were a Ford F150 truck, a white transit van, a Lexus RX 300, a Lexus RX 350, a Nissan 3500 van and trailer, a Toyota Rav4, a Toyota Corolla, a Nissan Ultima, a Lincoln Navigator, a Ford F250 truck, a Dodge Ram pickup and trailer, a Nissan Sentra, a Ford Maverick pickup and trailer, a Nissan Ultima, a Ford Mustang, a Kia Soul, a Chevrolet Suburban, a Subaru Outback, a TEMSA Charter Bus with 15 passengers on board, a Toyota Camry and a Nissan Ultima.
There was in excess of 45 persons involved, including two men and a woman, all from Chicago, Ill., who were killed. Other injured drivers and passengers were transported via five separate rescue units to Lake City Medical Center or to Shands UF. “The exact number of persons injured is still be determined as some drove themselves to a medical facility,” said FHP Troop-B Public Affairs Officer Lt. Patrick Riordan.
Once FHP’s Major Crash Investigation Unit finished mapping the scene, collecting evidence and removed all persons, vehicles and debris the Interstate was reopened at 12:40 p.m.
“Once this large-scale investigation is concluded, FHP’s investigators will have more specific facts, data and details of what occurred that caused the chain reaction of collisions,” Riordan said. Heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the incident.
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In Hawthorne, the FHP reports that on Dec. 29 a vehicle crashed into an ambulance in Putnam County.
Troopers say that around 3:40 p.m., the vehicle stopped at the intersection of State Road 20 and Gordon Chapel Road in Hawthorne.
The driver then failed to yield the right of way to an ambulance heading west on Gordon Chapel Road, causing a collision between the front of the ambulance and the passenger side of the vehicle.
Officials say a non-emergency patient was in the ambulance at the time of the crash but no major injuries were reported.
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