Early Sunday morning visibly on the Interstate 75 outside Gainesville, Florida was reduced to zero due to a brushfire and already foggy conditions. The result was at least ten deaths and over 18 more hospitalized with various injuries.
Around 4 a.m., drivers on the interstate were blinded by patches of fog and smoke. The result was pileups on both sides of the highway with dozens of cars and multiple tractor-trailers involved. Steven R. Camps was driving into the haze on the highway and describes what he experienced:
“You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy”
“It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind.”
“looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them.”
The interstate had been closed due to a brushfire that was intentionally set but recently re-opened just a short time before the horrific collisions took place. Upon arriving at the scene rescuers had difficulty locating the victims because of the thick smog and heavy smoke. The fire which had already burned 62 acres as of sunday morning was still burning as workers labored to clean up the highway.The highway was re-opened on Sunday around 5:30.
The crash has many asking why the highway was okay’d to be re-opened after the earlier closure. Investigators are still looking into who started the fire.
The following is a video taken just a short time after the accidents as crews attempted to clear the highway and make sense of the catastrophe: