Fowler Avenue, I-75 reopen after deadly tomato truck crash

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Lanes of Fowler Avenue reopened Wednesday morning after a deadly crash where a box carrying tomatoes tumbled off a highway overpass, landing on another car.

Crews continued cleaning up the wreckage throughout the night underneath the Interstate 75 overpass, along with the piles of tomatoes, following the fiery crash from the day before. Westbound lanes opened around 2:45 a.m., and the eastbound lanes reopened before 7 a.m., troopers said.

The multi-vehicle crash occurred after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Florida Highway Patrol troopers said a 40-year-old female driver was entering the northbound entrance ramp of I-75 when she lost control of her 2004 Toyota Sequoia. Investigators said the SUV rotated across the northbound lanes of I-75, and into the path of a tractor-trailer. 

Both collided, sending the SUV into a barrier wall along the overpass and the truck over a wall, and down onto Fowler Avenue. Troopers said the tractor landed on another vehicle, killing the driver inside. The wreckage ignited a fire which burned for more than 20 minutes. The victim is described as an adult male, but troopers have not identified him. It doesn’t appear there were other occupants.

A fourth vehicle, a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, was traveling westbound on Fowler, and crashed into the fallen truck. An axle from the truck separated before the rest of the vehicle fell from the overpass and entered the southbound lanes of I-75. A fifth vehicle, traveling southbound, crashed into it. 

The four other drivers -- including the 63-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer -- involved in the crash had minor injuries, troopers said. The 2004 Toyota Sequoia was carrying a passenger, who had no injuries.

The crash initially closed all lanes of I-75 and Fowler Avenue on Tuesday. The entire interstate reopened by 8:45 p.m.