FL Facing Impending Lawsuits Over I-75 Crashes, FHP Responds

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - August 10, 2012 - Noon

The Florida Highway Patrol is firing back against claims it mishandled a series of deadly car crashes on I-75 earlier this year. They released a report today. Almost 7 months ago at approximately 4am on Sunday, January 29th, a series of multiple-vehicle collisions happened on I-75, just south of Gainesville. After the deadly accidents, Governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to perform an independent review of what lead up to the crashes. Interstate 75 had been blanketed in smoke and fog and was closed for a time. Once it reopened, there was a string of six separate crashes. The crashes killed 11 people. The Florida Highway Patrol released a report today rebutting an earlier assessment by FDLE that found errors made by the patrol. FHP says even if all of FDLE's recommendations were present at the time of the January 29th crashes near Gainesville, it's likely the same thing would have happened. It also places blame on the drivers themselves, saying "no amount of planning or policy will take the place of driver reaction to low visibility and unpredictable conditions." In the report, the agencies state that following the incident, they've reviewed their practices and policies for low visibility events. They are also updating policies for both sworn personnel and dispatchers and are in the process of planning a public awareness campaign addressing driving in smoke and fog conditions.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - August 7, 2012 -

At least 11 notices of intent to sue the state of Florida have been filed over a series of deadly crashes on Interstate 75.

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles executive director Julie Jones gave that update Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet.

Eleven people were killed and 18 hospitalized because of the crashes on a January night near Gainesville. The interstate was covered with smoke and fog.

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement report found the Florida Highway Patrol made mistakes in reopening the highway about 30 minutes before the crashes began.

Jones said her department will respond Friday to the FDLE report.

The crashes involved at least a dozen cars, pickup trucks, a motor home and six semitrailer trucks.

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