The Florida Highway Patrol said a deadly crash on I-275 northbound early Monday morning happened after a man looked at his phone and failed to notice stopped traffic.
Two people died in the multi-vehicle crash, which effectively shut down I-275 northbound near Kennedy Boulevard for five hours.
According to a release from FHP, a 51-year-old man from Clearwater was driving a pick-up northbound on the I-275 exit ramp to the Veterans Expressway, where traffic was stopped. Troopers said the man looked down at his phone, didn't notice the stopped traffic and crashed into a sedan.
The sedan and the pick-up were propelled forward and crashed into four other vehicles.
A 53-year-old woman from Lakeland who was driving the sedan and her 39-year-old passenger, a man from St. Petersburg, both died in the crash. FHP said they were pronounced dead at the scene.
The 51-year-old man driving the pick-up suffered minor injuries. FHP said he was not wearing a seatbelt.
FHP said the 53-year-old woman was also not wearing a seatbelt. Her 39-year-old passenger was wearing a seatbelt.
A 38-year-old woman from St. Pete who was driving one of the cars hit after the initial crash suffered serious injuries. She had a 6-year-old girl in her vehicle who suffered minor injuries. Both were wearing restraints at the time of the crash.
Three other people involved in the crash suffered minor injuries, according to FHP. All were wearing seatbelts.
The crash happened at 7:30 a.m., and the roadway reopened just after 12:30 p.m.