NORTH PORT (FOX 13) - Three people were killed and two others hospitalized in a chain-reaction crash on I-75 southbound early Sunday morning.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the initial impact came from a car ramming full speed into a truck that had pulled off onto the shoulder because of a mechanical problem. That happened around mile marker 177 south of the Toledo Blade exit.
Then, five more crashes stacked up after hitting the debris.
The truck driver, a 51-year-old Haines City man whose name has not been released, went to help the victims of the first collision and was hit by another vehicle. He died from his injuries.
Two other people involved in the crash also died -- Nathaniel Perkins III and Johneisha Gadson, both of Fort Myers.
North Port Police and FHP troopers closed the southbound lanes of I-75 for about 12 hours during the investigation.
In all, seven different vehicles were involved in the crash. Authorities are still working to determine whether alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.