Body of 11th Victim Found in Fla. Highway Pileup

At least 18 people were sent to the hospital after Gainesville area crash.

 

 
 
 

| Wednesday, February 1, 2012

GALLERIES

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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

When rescuers first arrived, they could only listen for screams and moans because the poor visibility.
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VIDEOS

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At Least 10 Killed in Florida Crash

Photographs revealed an aftermath that resembled a Hollywood disaster movie.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The body of an eleventh person was found in a pickup truck days after a deadly pileup on Interstate 75, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The victim was inside a Dodge pickup truck that crashed into a tractor trailer as it traveled south early Sunday, authorities determined Tuesday. The pickup's driver and another passenger were discovered before, but hadn't been identified early Wednesday.

It took more than two days to determine a third person was in the pickup truck because it was burned and crushed so badly, said Larry Bedore, director of investigations for the medical examiner's office in Gainesville.

"The vehicle was crushed between multiple vehicles," Bedore said Wednesday. "It was in the center of an inferno that melted most of the metal and a lot of the glass."

The Highway Patrol on Tuesday released the name of an eighth person killed in the crash. Vontavia Kiara Robinson, 22, of Williston, was the driver of a Pontiac Grand Prix that was involved in the southbound crash around 4 a.m. Sunday. The name of a passenger who died in her car has not been released.

Authorities closed the busy six-lane highway early Sunday because a mix of fog and smoke from a nearby brush fire made visibility difficult. The road was reopened about three hours later after the Highway Patrol determined conditions had improved. The first pileup occurred a short time later.

At least a dozen cars, six tractor trailers and a motorhome collided. Some cars were crushed under the bellies of big rigs. Others burst into flames, making it difficult to identify victims.

The crash sent another 18 people to the hospital.

Florida officials said they are willing to review their protocols in determining when to shut down — and reopen — a major highway. The Highway Patrol was also quick to point out that motorists must be prepared to quickly make good decisions because road conditions can change quickly.

Officials said the decision to close a road is made by a Highway Patrol supervisor, who relies on feedback from troopers who assess road conditions. They use information and forecasts from the National Weather Service. A key piece of information is an index estimating the humidity and smoke dispersion on a scale of 1 to 10. If the score is 7 or higher, the Highway Patrol's protocol is to close the road.

The index score for early Sunday had been forecast to be a 6 in the four-county region that includes the crash site, according to the National Weather Service.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


At Least 10 Killed in Florida Crash

Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Debris and wreckage lie along the highway after a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


Gallery 1

Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

A fireman sprays the interior of a burned vehicle that was involved in a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

At left, firemen rest after fighting fires that resulted from a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


Gallery 1

Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Florida Highway Patrolmen inspect the damage from a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

A small passenger vehicle sits lodged beneath a semitrailer after a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Firemen watch as cleanup crews work on vehicles that were involved in a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Wrecked vehicles sit along the road at the scene of a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


Gallery 1

Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Firemen spray foam on a truck that was part of a multi-vehicle accident that killed at least nine people, on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Firemen hose down a commercial carrier truck on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Fla., after it was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck which killed at least nine people in the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup on the highway, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Smoke from burning trailers at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, south of Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, south of Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, south of Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)


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Fiery Florida Highway Pileup

Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, south of Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)



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