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'It happened in an instant': Survivor of deadly 8-vehicle crash on I-75 in New Tampa speaks out

Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 14, 2019

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A man who was heading to the outlet mall on Wednesday ended up in the hospital after a deadly 8-vehicle crash.

Roberto Maldonado says he was driving with a friend, but before he could get to his exit on I-75, the deadly chain-reaction crash happened.

RELATED: 2 killed in fiery 8-vehicle crash on NB I-75 in New Tampa

Florida Highway Patrol says a semi-truck that started the crash slammed into an SUV that then rear-ended Maldonado's Buick.

“I was like awake and conscious through the whole thing," said Maldonado." Basically just riding it out. It was like a roller coaster at that point because I couldn’t see what was going on outside the window because the airbags were deployed.”

The semi-truck and the Mercedes it also hit, both caught fire and those two drivers both died.

Several others were taken to the hospital including Maldonado and his friend. They were both bruised and beat up after the crash.

Maldonado needed seven stitches.

“But nothing compared to the two lives lost. There’s nothing that’s comparable to that,” he said.

On Thursday, the charred truck was towed away and you could see the highway signs singed from the fire.

“It’s just unbelievable that I was part of that and I’m here today. It’s just crazy," Maldonado said.

FHP hasn’t yet released the names of the two people that died.

They say because of the fire, identifying the two drivers will take the medical examiner’s office more time.