Three separate accidents snarl Interstate 75 in both directions
The crashes involved 8 vehicles. Three people were taken to hospitals.
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.
Three accidents that occurred nearly simultaneously Wednesday morning on Interstate 75 in northern Marion County tied up northbound and southbound traffic.
The crashes, which involved eight vehicles, one of which was transporting nine cars, all happened just north of County Road 326.
Three people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.
At about 7:45 a.m., according to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, a semi hauling mail was traveling south in the right lane, not far behind a 1995 Chevy pickup towing a 28-foot Bel Air travel trailer being driven by Linda Oatis, 57, of Mississippi.
For an unknown reason, the travel trailer jack-knifed and came off its frame, landing sideways in the center and right lanes of the interstate.
The semi could not stop in time and struck the camper.
Cal Oatis, 22, a passenger in his mother's truck, said he was sleeping when, all of a sudden, he awoke to "mayhem."
Linda Oatis was taken to Munroe Regional Medical Center for observation.
Cal Oatis said he was not injured.
Meantime, about a quarter mile north of that crash, as traffic was slowing down, a 2008 Nissan Altima stopped in the left lane. The driver of a 2007 Toyota Corolla did not realize the Nissan had stopped and ran into the back of the car.
On the northbound side of I-75, directly across from the turmoil in the southbound lanes, a crash occurred that involved a 1998 Cadillac, a semi hauling nine cars and a 2003 Chrysler minivan.
Troopers said witnesses told them the driver of the Cadillac was traveling in the inside lane when the driver suddenly changed lanes to the middle, moving directly into the path of the semi.
The Cadillac clipped the left front corner of the hauler and spun into the guardrail, then spun back onto the roadway, hitting the minivan.
All the vehicles stopped in the grassy area to the east of the right outer lane.
A man and woman in the Cadillac were taken to Shands at the University of Florida, reportedly in stable condition.
By about 10 a.m., traffic flow had been restored on both sides of the interstate.