This past weekend a devastating series of motor vehicle accidents on a road in Florida resulted in the death of at least 10 people. The crashes occurred outside of Gainesville, on Interstate 75, early Sunday morning while it was still dark. Apparently the chain reaction crashes were due to the fact that drivers were unable to see the vehicles around them.
Prior to the incident, the interstate had been shut down due to poor visibility. Thick smoke from a brush fire, combined with fog was the reason. The road had been reopened prior to the crashes though it was unclear how much time elapsed between the two events.
Lanes in both directions were involved in the incident. Six tractor-trailers, at least 12 cars and one bus-type vehicle were a part of the catastrophic crash. The collisions caused the trucks and cars to catch fire making the visibility even worse. In total, the wreckage from the crashes stretched for almost a mile.
The string of wreckage, along with the poor visibility, made it difficult for rescue workers to locate victims. In addition to the 10 people who died in the crash, another 18 were taken to hospitals for treatment.
In previous post we have discussed some of the potential causes of car accidents. While actions of drivers are often to blame in some capacity, there are times that external factors play a big role. Though authorities are attempting to determine what caused the accident, it appears that the brush fire played a fairly large role. The cause of the initial brush fire is currently unknown. According to the Florida Forest Service, the fire that started this past Saturday could have been the result of arson.
Source: Associated Press, “Cause sought for deadly Fla. highway pileup,” Mike Schneider, Jan. 30, 2012