In a series of accidents before dawn on Sunday near Gainesville, 10 people died and at least 18 were injured, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The accidents involving 12 cars and six or seven trucks occurred shortly before 4 a.m. on Interstate 75 after smoke from a marsh fire combined with fog to reduce visibility, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported.
Eighteen people were transported to Shands Hospital emergency room, six of them to a trauma center, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
“It’s tragic. It’s probably the worst one [accident] I’ve seen in 27 years,” said a FHP spokesman.
Investigators are still trying to determine how many separate collisions occurred on the interstate, which is a main artery through Florida.
There is no information yet on the ages or genders of the victims. Several people died in one car. In another crash, two cars and a tractor trailer caught fire and melted asphalt on the road.
Hours later, the interstate remained closed while the investigation continued and while an analysis of the road pavement was under way to determine whether it could be safely re-opened.
The marsh fire was in or near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park south of Gainesville. Florida Forest Service investigators are trying to determine whether the fire was set intentionally.
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