Alachua County, Florida – Florida Highway Patrol reported a series of fatal multi-car accidents in I-75 in Alachua County which killed 10 and injured at least 18 others. The initial trigger of the accidents was thought to be from poor visibility from smoke.
Despite the poor visibility, the drivers still has an obligation to use reasonable care. As a result of the negligence of one or more drivers, several drivers and passengers were killed and severely injured. The Florida Highway Patrol said involved at least 12 passenger cars and about seven semi trucks.
Most of the collisions were on Interstate 75, said Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Todd Kelly, with other crashes occurring on U.S. Highway 441.
The interstate’s northbound and southbound lanes remained closed Sunday afternoon, and would stay closed until the roadways are cleared, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Traffic was being detoured.
“It was just so crazy,” said one Gainesville resident. “We were just sitting in the car and all of this came out of nowhere.”
The car next to them “literally almost went under (a) semi truck,” he said. “We saw that guy die after talking to him before we could even react.”
He said the car he was riding in was then struck twice, effectively wedging it between two semi trucks. “As it was happening on the northbound side, it was happening on the southbound side as well,” he said. “There was nowhere to go. It was just cars hitting cars and cars.” He called the scene “horrendous.”
“Actually the road had been closed earlier in the morning,” Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Patrick Riordan told the newspaper. “It was assessed; conditions improved to a point where the road was reopened. These occurred after we reopened the road.” Road conditions were being monitored, he said.
Florida Highway Patrol may be negligent in contributing to these accidents
One part of the investigation into the cause of the crash will be whether FHP contributing to the deaths and injuries by not shutting down the road and properly assessing the visibility. Whether they had a duty initially to shut the road down may be irrelevant, as they arguably assumed a duty to maintain the road and protect the motorists from visibility issues.
Florida law recognizes the “voluntary assumption of duty” doctrine which essentially may hold one liable for wrongful death in Florida, or personal injury in Florida if they failed to use reasonable care in the duty they assumed to undertake.
Wrongful Death Attorney in Alachua for I-75 Crash
Regardless of the liability of FHP, all of the drivers involved in the crash had a legal duty to use reasonable care. If visibility was limited or non-existent, the drivers are not absolved of responsibility to maintain their vehicles safely. If a gun shooter at a shooting range accidentally shoots several people because he had smoke in his eye from his first shot, he should still be responsible for all of the shootings. A car driver, like a gun shooter, should still use caution when driving a several ton vehicle, especially those driving 18-wheelers in Florida.
For more information on your legal rights or to see if you have an 18 wheeler truck accident case in Florida, a wrongful death case in Florida, or a Gainesville car accident, call me at 800-337-7755 for a free consultation or submit your inquiry online.