UPDATE: Eastbound lanes on E Fowler Avenue reopened early Wednesday morning. Read the latest
TAMPA — One person was killed Tuesday when their vehicle was crushed by a falling semitrailer truck that broke apart, plunged off an Interstate 75 overpass and caught fire, authorities said.
The chaotic crash took place just after 4 p.m. where I-75 traverses over E Fowler Avenue, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The incident started when a 2004 Toyota Sequoia sport-utility vehicle driving in the eastbound lanes of E Fowler Avenue entered the cloverleaf entrance ramp to northbound I-75.
The driver of that vehicle, 40-year-old Jennifer Louise Boynton of Belleview, lost control of the Toyota, sending it careening across the northbound lanes of the interstate and into the path of the semitrailer truck.
The two vehicles collided, and the crash sent the semitrailer into the inside barrier wall of the overpass above Fowler.
The tractor portion of the truck separated from the trailer and tumbled to the roadway below, with driver Angel Aldana Catalan, 63, of Port St. Lucie, inside.
The truck cab landed on a passing vehicle, a sedan that was driving east on Fowler, then caught fire and burned heavily for 20 minutes, the Highway Patrol said. The sedan's adult male driver was killed. Troopers did not release his identity Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the trailer portion of the semitrailer truck continued to ride along the barrier wall on the overpass and eventually toppled to the roadway below. It carried tomatoes, and spilled the fruit all over E Fowler Avenue.
The trailer ended up hitting a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, driven by Frank L. Harold, 62, of Bradenton, as he drove west on Fowler.
An axel from the trailer also broke off during the crash and entered the southbound lanes of I-75. That's when it struck a 2016 Toyota SUV driven by 69-year-old Patricia P. Folsom of Tampa.
Boynton, the driver of the Toyota Sequoia that lost control on the entrance ramp, suffered minor injuries, troopers said. Her passenger, Scott Elling, 50, also of Belleview, was not injured. Both were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital for medical treatment.
Catalan, the driver of the semitrailer truck, suffered minor injuries. He was not taken to a hospital.
Harold, the driver of the Hyundai that crashed into the trailer after it fell onto Fowler Avenue, suffered minor injuries. As did passenger Jennine M. Harold, 63, also of Bradenton. Both were taken to Tampa General Hospital.
Folsom, the driver of the Toyota that was struck by the axel, was not injured.
The crash closed both directions of I-75 and E Fowler Avenue for several hours as firefighter extinguished two vehicle fires and troopers investigated the crash scene. All interstate lanes were back open by 8:45 p.m. But investigators expected Fowler to remain closed throughout the night.
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Troopers did not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. The incident remains under investigation.