5 die in crash near Naples


Lee County traffic deputy Mark Itzko directs traffic on Interstate 75 at Alico Road near Fort Myers after a fatal accident shut down the highway for several hours on Wednesday.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 12:02 a.m.

NAPLES - Five people died Wednesday when their car crossed the median on Interstate 75 and collided head-on with a sport utility vehicle, the highway patrol said. Two people in the SUV were injured.

The crash closed all northbound lanes of the interstate for four hours and caused a wave of accidents on the backed-up highway and detour routes.

The five victims were in a white four-door Honda heading southbound that crossed the median into the northbound lanes, smashing into the SUV, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Vent Crawford said.

Two people were thrown from the car and struck by other vehicles. The other three were killed by fire inside the car, highway patrol Lt. Doug Dodson said.

Troopers believed the five were from Guatemala, but Dodson said it could take days to positively identify them because of the fire.

Harvey Kasoff, 68, of Owings Mills, Md., and Mitchell Kasoff, were in the SUV and taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in stable condition, troopers said. Mitchell Kasoff's hometown and age were not immediately known.

Weather in the area was clear and was not believed to be a factor in the crash.

Northbound lanes of I-75 opened at about 10 a.m., four hours after the crash.

, Crawford said. Southbound lanes had been backed up for about 10 miles.

"We've had additional crashes northbound and southbound," Crawford said. "We've had crashes on the detour route."

The additional crashes weren't serious, he said, although some caused injuries.

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