Updated, Dec. 1: The Alachua County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the deceased driver as Steven Reed, 56, of Dothan, Ala.
Reed was a driver for Max Hughes Trucking, according to his obituary, and attended Dothan Country Fellowship Church and the First Baptist Church of Dothan, Alabama.
Max Hughes Trucking is based in Troy, Ala. It hauls general freight and reported nearly 6.9 million miles in 2014, according to federal records. The company’s drivers were involved in eight crashes involving injuries during the past 24 months, not counting the one here on Nov. 18.
The company declined comment by phone on Nov. 19.
It received a satisfactory safety rating in a January 2013 federal compliance review.
Updated, Nov. 30: The truck pulling the Wiley Sanders trailer was traveling northbound on I-75 when it made a sudden left turn into the median at mile marker 384, crossing over the guardrail, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report released this weekend.
The truck then sideswiped the trailer of a second semi as it traveled southbound.
The first truck then jackknifed and caught on fire, blocking all three southbound lanes; the truck’s driver, whose name has yet to be released, was pronounced dead on the scene.
Multiple crashes ensued as drivers attempted to avoid the truck and each other — resulting in three injuries — according to the report. John Alton Mingee, 43, of Ocala, and Terrence S. Reilly, 57, of Ossipee, New Hampshire, sustained serious and critical injuries, respectively. Both were taken to UF Health Shands Hospital.
Hernando Rincon, 63, of Kissimmee, sustained minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital.
According to the report, the investigation is open, and there could still be charges forthcoming.
Updated, Nov. 19: Florida Highway Patrol officials have clarified the number of injuries from previous releases. Four individuals were injured in the crashes, which involved three semi-trucks and six passenger vehicles, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
A representative from Wiley Sanders contacted WUFT News to clarify that the trailer belonged to their company, but the truck was driven by an operative of another company.
FHP has not released the official report from the incident.
Updated, 9:25 p.m.: Florida Highway Patrol confirms the fatality was the driver of the Wiley Sanders truck, though the person’s identity has not yet been released. Three people were critically injured, and three others were hurt.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is conducting diesel cleanup at the crash site; three semi trucks leaked fuel.
Wiley Sanders, based in Troy, Ala., has 471 drivers and 572 power units used for transport, according to federal records. It totaled more than 48 million miles in 2014, was in 14 crashes involving injuries, and earned a satisfactory safety rating. The company carries cargo, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, consisting of:
- General freight
- Commodities dry bulk
- Paper products
Authorities have not announced what items were inside the truck Wednesday night.
The crash caused a traffic headache not only I-75 — from the NW 39th Avenue exit southbound to the Newberry exit and northbound from the Micanopy to Williston exits — but also throughout Gainesville. Areas including Archer Road, SW Williston Road and SW 34th Street became bottlenecked with the diverted interstate traffic. Florida Highway Patrol expects to reopen northbound traffic lanes “soon.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Updated, 6:24 p.m.: The logo of Wiley Sanders, a trucking company based in Alabama, is visible on one of the semi trucks involved. A man who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters Wednesday night said he would not give out information to non-employees about the crash.
Updated, 6:15 p.m.: Florida Highway Patrol says there is one fatality in the crash.
Major congestion on l-75 near Archer Rd following major accident. Traffic being re-routed pic.twitter.com/fFPJg9ta1B
— Bridget Grogan (@NEWSGAL100) November 18, 2015
Updated, 5:46 p.m.: Twitter user Trey Gringo posted this video.
Vehicle fire on I-75 by exit 384 pic.twitter.com/65TjGCNmGj
— Billy Kennedy (@RantingBilly) November 18, 2015
Florida Highway Patrol has also released this advisory:
A vehicle crash in the area of the 384 mile marker in Alachua County is causing traffic issues for the northbound and southbound lanes. Motorists traveling northbound will need to exit I-75 prior to the Williston exit. Motorists traveling southbound will need to exit prior to Newberry Road. Serious injuries have been reported. Additional information will be released when available.
Original story, Nov. 18 at 5:43 p.m.: A crash involving at least one semi-trailer truck occurred shortly after 5 p.m. on I-75 southbound near the Archer Road exit.
Witnesses across I-75 near SW 40th Boulevard described hearing an explosion just after the accident. Traffic is backed up on I-75 southbound.
Stay with WUFT on 89.1 FM and at www.wuft.org as we learn more.