FHP looks for truck behind spilled gravel, I-4 pile-up

Evan Lambert reports

- A 24-year-old man is in the hospital Wednesday after falling more than 30 feet from an I-4 ramp during a multiple-vehicle crash.

Florida Highway Patrol says a large amount of gravel in the roadway caused the accident on Tuesday morning.

According to FHP, an truck was traveling northbound on the Crosstown connector ramp towards I-4 when a large amount of gravel spilled from its load. The truck did not stop, and continued onto I-4.

That spill caused a quick succession of car crashes.

Moments later, a woman driving a Buick encountered the spilled gravel, lost control of the car, and crashed into the barrier wall. 

Another car, driven by 24-year-old William Swartz, also lost control and collided into the barrier wall. Swartz got out of his car to check for damage when a third vehicle lost control and collided into the barrier wall as well.

After crashing into the barrier wall, the third vehicle continued on to crash into Swartz and his car. The impact of the collision sent Swartz  over the barrier wall, falling 33 feet to the ground below.

Swartz suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital. He is in fair condition, according to a spokeswoman from Tampa General Hospital. The two other drivers involved were not hurt.

Irene Blitch was the first driver who spun out when she slid over the gravel.

​“I just spun in a circle and my front hit the wall and then I spun around and my bumper hit the wall,” Blitch said.

Blitch says she’s thankful everyone involved escaped with their lives.

​“I'm thankful that we all made it through without serious injuries. I'm hoping he's OK,” said Blitch.

Anyone with information regarding the truck that spilled the gravel is asked to contact FHP by calling 813-631-4020.

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