MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The death toll now stands at 11 in the deadly I-75 pileup outside Gainesville after the body of another person was found in a pickup truck days after the accident.
The Alachua County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Tuesday that a third victim was inside a Dodge pickup truck that crashed into a tractor-trailer as it traveled south early Sunday, authorities said. The driver and another passenger in that vehicle had not been identified early Wednesday.
Three of the injured from the crash were women from Broward County, another was from Boca Raton, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The Florida Highway Patrol said 19-year old Jennifer Deustch from Parkland was behind the wheel of a 2008 Honda Accord when the accident occurred. Deustch suffered serious injuries as did her passenger Stacey Krause, 21, also from Parkland. Two other passengers; 21-year old Candice Grams from Boca Raton and 21-year old Michelle Deustch from Parkland suffered minor injuries.
The FHP had closed the busy six-lane highway just after midnight because a mix of fog and smoke from a nearby brush fire made visibility difficult. A sergeant and lieutenant determined about three hours later that conditions had improved and the interstate was reopened to traffic.
The first pileup occurred a short time later. At least a dozen cars, six tractor trailers and a motor home collided. Some cars were crushed under the bellies of big rigs while others burst into flames. Because some of the bodies were badly burned, investigators have been using dental records and vehicle identification numbers to help identify the bodies.
Survivors said the smoke and fog so thick they couldn’t see.
Gov. Rick Scott has ordered an investigation into the Florida Highway Patrol’s decision to reopen the interstate.
The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report