Update: I-75 Reopens After Fatal Crash
The three-vehicle crashed closed Interstate 75 for hours Friday afternoon.
Update 8:45 p.m. Nov. 2: All lanes on Interstate 75 have reopened following a fatal crash that took place earlier this afternoon.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2001 Ford Focus driven by Alicia Fontes-Ferraz, 20, of Tampa was merging onto northbound I-75 from Fowler Avenue around 1:50 p.m. today, Nov. 2, when the crash occurred. Fontes-Ferraz’s vehicle traveled into the path of a 2006 Kenworth semi-truck driven by Paul Pitts, 48, of Panama City, Fla.
Pitts tried to avoid the crash by merging into the inside travel lane. When he did, however, his semi collided with another semi-truck. The second semi traveled into the center media and hit a concrete barrier wall, entered the median and caught fire, according to a highway patrol media release.
The diver of the second semi, whose name is not being released at this time, died at the scene.
Pitts’ semi is operated by Wiley Sanders Truck Lines. He was hauling cardboard boxes.
The second semi was hauling aluminum gussets.
Northbound lanes on I-75 were closed following the crash and didn't reopen until around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
The accident remains under investigation.
Update 3:02 p.m. Nov. 2: The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating this crash and has determined that a total of two tractor trailers and two passenger vehicles were involved, according to Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
Interstate 75 northbound from Interstate 4 is still closed and will likely remain closed for several hours, he said.
Update 2:12 p.m. Nov. 2: The Florida Highway Patrol is reporting that all northbound lanes north of Fowler Avenue on Interstate 75 are closed at this time and one person is dead following an accident involving two tractor trailers.
"One of the tractor trailers penetrated the concrete barrier walls in the construction zone and traveled into the median before erupting in flames and becoming completely engulfed," Sgt. Steve Gaskins wrote in a media release. "The driver of the engulfed tractor trailer is deceased."
Motorists are being asked to see alternative routes both north and southbound as the highway patrol works the scene. The suggested routes include U.S. Highway 41 and U.S. Highway 301.
The on-ramps at Fowler Avenue are both closed, according to Patch editor Ashley Reams.
Motorists heading northbound on Interstate 75 should expect some delays in the area of Fowler Avenue.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, two semis were involved in a crash.
“Preliminary information is that one semi is overturned and fully engulfed in flames,” a sheriff’s office media release said.
Florida Highway Patrol has been notified and will be taking over the investigation.
No further details are available at this time.
Stay with Patch for updates as they become available.