A fatal accident occurred Friday afternoon, leaving one dead and six injured.
The crash occurred on the southbound side of I-75 near the Micanopy exit, when a tractor trailer veered off of the interstate, hitting an RV that had pulled off the highway due to a flat tire.
The truck driver, who remained on the scene, spoke with a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) investigator; he declined comment to a reporter.
FHP investigators are still sorting the details of the accident. Currently, FHP troopers believe that the RV and a van that was pulling an enclosed trailer had pulled onto the west shoulder of I-75. The RV and the van were traveling together, so when the RV got a flat tire, both vehicles pulled over.
The truck driver, for reasons as yet unknown, veered off of I-75 and struck the RV, at which time the RV caught fire. Marion County firefighters were dispatched at 12:24 p.m. and arrived at 12:38 p.m. The fire was under control at 12:54 p.m. Firefighters from multiple stations throughout the county went to the scene of the accident, as did a group of registered nurses from Shands.
Robert Dressler is the sound man for a band called Adrenaline Mob, which was en route from Biloxi, Mississippi to St. Petersburg, where the band was scheduled to perform Friday night at the State Theater.
Dressler was also one of the passengers in the RV at the time of the accident. He was in a bunk when the tractor trailer struck the RV; he reported hearing a loud “boom” at the time of the crash.
The patrol has not yet identified the deceased or the injured passengers. The deceased is a man who had been travelling in the RV. He was pronounced dead at 12:42 p.m. The injured include band members.
Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Dumon was traveling northbound on I-75 from Tampa to Gainesville when he came upon the accident. He ran to the scene and pulled the RV driver from the burning vehicle. He administered first aid and talked with the driver until the emergency response crews arrived, learning that the driver’s name was Jason and that he was a retired Marine. Dumon also assisted in pulling two more men from the trailer.
A total of nine people were in the vehicles. One died at the scene, six were taken to nearby hospitals, and the remaining two declined treatment. Of the six injured, three were listed in critical condition and the other three were stable as of 2:55 p.m. Patients were taken to UF Health Shands Hospital and North Florida Regional Medical Center.
A tragic reminder that even if you drive cautiously, accidents can still happen. Stay safe on the roads and keep our contact info handy should things take a turn for the worst.