FHP: Agency will look into decision to reopen I-75
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.
Two Florida Highway Patrol supervisors reopened Interstate 75 on Paynes Prairie at 3:26 a.m. on Sunday, less than three hours after shutting down the highway because smoke from a wildfire had severely reduced visibility, an FHP official said Monday.
Less than a half-hour later, a string of multi-vehicle crashes started that left 10 dead, the official said.
FHP Lt. Patrick Riordan said at a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Monday that the agency would look into the supervisors' decision but that he believed they followed procedure when they reopened I-75.
In addition to the 10 killed, at least 21 were injured in wrecks on the northbound and southbound sides of the interstate over the prairie, where a fire was sparked Saturday afternoon, giving off smoke that cut visibility on U.S. 441 and I-75.
Riordan, reading a prepared statement, called the events a "tragedy."
He also said drivers needed to drive with caution when conditions worsen like they did Sunday morning.
"Drivers have a responsibility to drive with care," he said.
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