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Four-truck crash clogs southbound Interstate 75 in Tampa

A road crew cleans up spilled fuel after an accident involving four semitrailer trucks Wednesday morning that shut southbound Interstate 75 at the Bruce B. Downs exit.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

A road crew cleans up spilled fuel after an accident involving four semitrailer trucks Wednesday morning that shut southbound Interstate 75 at the Bruce B. Downs exit.

TAMPA — Four semitrailer trucks collided on southbound Interstate 75 near the Bruce B. Downs exit early Wednesday, causing major delays for morning commuters.

An unidentified vehicle switching lanes abruptly cut off a Freightliner truck travelling south on I-75 about 5 a.m. Wednesday, forcing truck driver Harry Kirven, 57, to drive onto the shoulder of the road, state troopers said.

Kirven, from South Carolina, crashed into a concrete wall erected due to highway construction, officials said. The trailer's rear axles were torn off in the crash as the truck came to rest in the Bruce B. Downs exit lane.

Seconds later, another truck hit the axles in the road. That truck, driven by John Jeltema, 48, of Zephyrhills, came to a stop in the middle of the interstate, officials said.

Terry Hypes, 43, also crashed into the dislodged axles and came to a stop in the middle of the road. Hypes' passenger, Deborah Curry, 41, suffered minor injuries in the collision, troopers said.

Then another semitrailer truck, driven by Terence Gant, 41, of Nocatee crashed into the back of Hypes' truck, causing a gas leak that spilled up to 40 gallons of diesel fuel on the road, troopers said.

Gant, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, was cited for careless driving.

The pileup closed all southbound lanes of the interstate for about an hour and caused traffic to back up into Pasco County, near State Road 54.

By around 9 a.m., all lanes had reopened to traffic.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.

Four-truck crash clogs southbound Interstate 75 in Tampa 10/10/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 1:41pm]
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