Deadly crash between two semi trucks creates fireball, traffic nightmare for commuters

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - It took about six hours, but the northbound lanes of I-75 are back open after a deadly, fiery accident involving two semi trucks.

The crash happened around 1:50pm on I-75 near Fowler Avenue, causing a total shutdown on the northbound lanes of the interstate.

The Florida Highway Patrol says a semi in the center lane merged quickly to the inside line, cutting off another semi truck. That semi slammed through the construction barrier and erupted into a fireball.

The driver of the semi that was engulfed in flames died at the scene, according to FHP.

"There were two vehicles involved also apparently merging on (to the interstate)," said Corp. Roger Cheshire with Florida Highway Patrol. "We're still investigating to see if they were or were not a factor."

FHP kept I-75 NB closed well into the evening, making the Friday commute anything but smooth.

Drivers tried to find alternate routes to get home, but were met with a traffic jam each way they turned.

"All the side roads are taken up so you just got to manage it the best way you can," said Tracy Lee, who was stuck in traffic with a line of other commuters. "Very rough. We have 200 miles to drive so we're stuck."

Northbound I-75 finally reopened around 8:30 p.m.

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