TAMPA ― Multiple vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left two people dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties for hours, authorities said.
Six others were reported injured in the crash. A tractor-trailer appeared to be burning on the side of the interstate as emergency crews from both counties descended on the crash scene.
Pasco Fire Rescue sent out its first notice about the crash at 6:43 p.m. It took place near Milepost 272, near the interchange with I-275. The crash led authorities to shut down northbound I-75 from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard to State Road 56.
Flames from the burning vehicle shot into the air along the interstate shoulder. Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control, Pasco Fire Rescue announced on Twitter.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash but released few details late Wednesday, including how the crash unfolded or who was at fault. The patients were all taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa for medical treatment. One was classified as a “trauma alert” indicating the severity of their injuries. No one involved in the crash was identified by troopers on Wednesday night.
Authorities warned motorists to find alternate routes north from Hillsborough into Pasco because the crash was expected to leave the interstate closed for several hours. Northbound I-275 traffic was diverted at E Fletcher Avenue, where drivers had to use U.S. 41 or U.S. 301 to travel north.