HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida—The crash that shut down the southbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike most of the day Friday resulted in the deaths of two people, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
At 7:15 a.m. Friday, a 2020 Toyota Corolla being driven by a 23-year-old Tallahassee woman was traveling southbound on Florida’s Turnpike in the inside lane near mile marker 286 when she failed to stop for traffic ahead. She rear-ended a 2022 Chevrolet Equinox being driven by a 69-year-old Ocala man. The Chevrolet left the roadway and the right rear of the Chevrolet struck the left rear of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee being driven by a 67-year-old woman of Port Richey, FHP Lt. Tara Crescenzi said.
The Chevrolet then struck a guardrail, rotated and struck a Dodge Ram 2500 head-on being driven by a 31-year-old Inverness man; the Chevrolet continued southbound and became wedged underneath the trailer of a 2018 tractor-trailer being driven by a 35-year-old Dunnellon man. The driver of the Chevrolet and his passenger, a 68-year-old Ocala woman, were both pronounced deceased on the scene.
After the initial impact between the Toyota and the Chevrolet, the Toyota rotated and struck a 2020 tractor-trailer being driven by a 34-year-old Anthony man. The Toyota became engulfed in flames, Crescenzi said.
The driver of the Toyota and the Jeep were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries; the driver and passenger of the Dodge and the drivers of the two tractor-trailers were not injured. Everyone involved in the crash stayed on scene and the crash remains under investigation, Crescenzi said.