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FHP Defends Decisions That Caused Deadly Car Pile-Up in January

The Florida Highway Patrol has issued a statement in which it largely places the blame for the deadly fiery car pile-up that cost the lives of 11 people on I-75 at Paynes Prairie, South of Gainesville. According to the, the report rejects most of the findings of an earlier report by another Florida agency, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The crashes happened in the early morning hours in an unlit stretch of road where wildfire smoke mixed with fog. Prior to the deadly accidents, the Florida Highway Patrol had closed the road due to poor visibility. A while later a highway patrol officer overruled a recommendation made by another officer that the road remain closed and order it reopened. About half-hour later, the first of six separate fatal crashes began, involving at least a dozen cars, pickup trucks and a van, six semitrailer trucks and a motorhome. Some vehicles burst into flames, making it difficult to identify the dead. Eighteen other victims were hospitalized.

FDLE Report Slams FHP

Among other findings, the earlier report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement stated that:

  • The Florida Highway Patrol didn’t adhere to its policies on incidents involving smoke and fog, including consulting with the National Weather Service.
  • After it reopened the highway, the Florida Highway Patrol failed to effectively monitor conditions of the interstate.
  • There was a lack of signage, including electronic message boards, which prevented broadcasting updates to motorists.

The Florida Highway Patrol also placed much of the blame on the drivers involved in the accidents, claiming that the earlier report by the FDLE did not address driver behavior like not reducing their speed under conditions with such poor visibility, which caused collisions with other vehicles that had slowed down or stopped. Moreover, the Highway Patrol continues, the investigation confirmed alcohol and drug use by several drivers.

Parent Agency Sued

The parent agency for the Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, has received 13 notices of intent to file lawsuits by people injured at the accidents or relatives of those who died.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Truck Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have represented many clients involved in traffic fatalities, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. Please note that eighteen-wheelers or tractor-trailers are subject to a set of rules different to those that govern local delivery trucks or vans. Being familiar with those rules allows experienced truck accident lawyers, like those from Greenberg Stone and Urbano to know what kind of evidence their investigators should be looking for and be adequately prepared to defend your rights. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

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