GAINESVILLE, FL – The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a tragic accident on Interstate 75 near Gainesville that has already claimed the lives of at least 10 people and left 18 others injured.
Authorities suspect there was a three-vehicle crash hours before the series of pileups occurred and may have been caused by smoke and fog from a brush fire in the area.
Reports showed that the smoke caused low visibility on the highway just south of Gainesville late Saturday. That same night, just before midnight, a tractor-trailer crashed into a Toyota in the northbound lanes of I-75 and was then rear-ended by a Lexus.
The highways was closed shortly after due to worsening conditions with the smoke and fog but reopened early Sunday morning. And just before 4 a.m. was when the pileups began.
Police report that at least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved in the incident, some bursting into flame, adding to the smoke that was already making the scene difficult to discern.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, all that could be observed was smoke and the sounds of victims screaming and moaning.
While authorities believe the fire played a large role in causing the accident, the incident is still under investigation.
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