2 dead in Hernando County crash after nearby fire causes traffic signal malfunction, troopers say

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said a fire near a Ridge Manor intersection caused a traffic signal to become "inoperative." When two vehicles entered the intersection, both collided, and two people were killed, they said.

The crash occurred at the intersection of U.S. Highway 301 and State Road 50 just after 3 a.m. Friday. Investigators said an SUV, carrying five passengers from South Carolina, was traveling south on U.S. 301.

Meanwhile, a tractor-trailer was heading east on SR-50 and entered the intersection moments before the SUV. The front of the SUV crashed into the left side of the tractor-trailer. 

Two adult passengers – a mother and son – were ejected, a 53-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man. Troopers said they were the only occupants who were not wearing a seatbelt. 

The 29-year-old female driver had serious injuries. Two young girls, ages 1 and 8, had minor injuries. 

Troopers said the driver and the 34-year-old passenger who died are the parents of the two children. 

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 42-year-old man from Weeki Wachee, had minor injuries.

When approaching an intersection with an inoperative signal, Florida law says drivers should treat it as a four-way stop. However, officials did not specify the manner of the traffic signal's malfunction in this case.