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Trucker killed in I-75 accident Friday was from Chiefland

TAMPA— The Florida Highway Patrol on Monday identified the truck driver killed in a Friday afternoon accident on Interstate 75 as Joseph Dean Ricker, 44, of Chiefland.

The fiery accident closed northbound lanes of I-75 near Fowler Avenue for six hours and snarled rush-hour traffic.

An FHP report said that Alicia Fontes-Ferraz, 20, of Tampa was merging onto I-75 north from the E Fowler Avenue entrance when she entered the path of Paul Pitts, 48, of Panama City, who was driving a semitrailer truck loaded with cardboard boxes.

To avoid hitting Fontes-Ferraz's 2001 Ford Focus, Pitts tried to move into the inside lane. His truck collided with Ricker's semitrailer, which was hauling aluminum gussets.

After the two trucks collided, Ricker's vehicle slammed into a wall, traveled into the median and caught on fire, the FHP said.

Ricker died at the scene, troopers said.

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