Two hurt in series of crashes on I-75


Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 11:01 p.m.

A series of crashes along Interstate 75 in southern Alachua County Monday evening resulted in two Ohio residents being sent to the hospital with serious injuries, according to Lt. Mike Burroughs with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Burroughs said four crashes all occurred within a few miles of each other on northbound I-75 between the Marion County line and Micanopy around 7 p.m. Monday. Rain storms had just moved into the area, and Burroughs said the crashes occurred one after another as the road got more congested. The only crash that resulted in injuries occurred on the overpass at the Micanopy exit, Burroughs said.

Joseph E. Mihalich, 62, of Hudson, Ohio, was driving north on I-75 in the right lane near mile marker 374 in Micanopy when he tried to change lanes to the middle lane. At the same time, an unknown vehicle next to Mihalich in the left lane also tried to change lanes to the middle, troopers said.

Mihalich swerved back to the right when he saw the other vehicle also changing lanes. Mihalich's SUV ended up veering back across the northbound lanes, striking a guard rail and overturning on top of it. He received critical injuries in the crash and Leigh E. Mihalich, 52, a passenger in the vehicle, was also transported to a hospital with serious injuries, FHP said.

The second vehicle did not stop, leaving troopers to believe the driver might not have seen Mihalich's vehicle crash.

Burroughs said the northbound lanes of I-75 were closed for about two hours following the crash at the 374 mile marker. But because the accident occurred on the overpass at the Micanopy exit, troopers were able to route traffic around the accident by directing cars to I-75 off-ramp just before the overpass, and then back onto I-75 at the on-ramp just past the accident.

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