Just as the Fourth of July celebrations were winding down, traffic was winding up on Florida’s roadways as everyone began heading home.
"We've seen about three accidents and a lot of back-ups of traffic and it's been very heavy traffic,” says traveler Karen Fraher.
While heavy traffic is anticipated on any holiday weekend, some drivers we spoke with say what they didn't expect was to see so many traffic crashes.
"The police really have their jobs cut out or them today, it's been very, a lot of accidents,” comments Susan Utterback, talking about her drive from Vero Beach, Florida.
The final numbers aren't in yet, but, Florida Highway Patrol says preliminary figures show that this holiday weekend has unfortunately, turned out to be more deadly than last year, in which 25 traffic fatalities were reported during the 72-hour holiday.
"There were already 27 reported, so we’re already above last year's figures, of course, there’s families attached to each one of those tragedies so it's very difficult,” explains Lt. John Bagnardi of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The 27 fatalities that were reported as of Monday afternoon do not include the latest fatal accident on I-10 in Jefferson County, which forced the closure of east bound traffic on the busy interstate.
Troopers tell us accidents like this hit close to home.
"Anytime the number goes up, we take it very personally,” Bagnardi adds.
While they can enforce the laws of the road, there's one power they don't have, which is putting the brakes on a deadly accident. The stepped up Independence Day holiday patrols in Florida officially end Monday night at midnight. Across the border in Georgia, the Fourth of July patrol ended at midnight Sunday, with a total of eight deaths on the roadways.
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