A major crash involving two semi-trucks shut down the Florida Turnpike near Wildwood for most of the day on Friday.
The crash – near Mile Marker 307 just a few miles from the junction with Interstate 75 – involved a semi pulling a standard box-style trailer that was flipped on its side across a guardrail. The second semi, which was pulling a flatbed trailer, came to rest a short distance away with extensive damage to the cab area of the truck.
The Florida Highway Patrol diverted traffic traveling south on I-75 seeking access to the turnpike into Wildwood onto State Road 44 and then to the U.S. Hwy. 301 interchange, which caused heavy traffic congestion throughout the day. Traffic traveling north on the turnpike was diverted onto State Road 470 at the Leesburg exit in Lake County, which also caused major backups and delays for many motorists who were attempting to return home after the Christmas holiday.
A video taken by a motorist traveling on the turnpike shortly after the crash showed dug-out tracks in the median where one of the semis had barreled through the guardrail before striking the other one, which then rolled onto its side. The video also showed multiple first responders working the scene of the crash, which was littered with tires and other debris.
Shortly after 5 p.m., motorists reported via social medial that FHP troopers had reopened a few of the turnpike lanes. But they cautioned that traffic still was moving quite slowly.
A second crash took place Friday morning in the northbound lanes of the turnpike at Mile Marker 303 in congested traffic that was slowing for the incident involving the two semi-trucks. That five-vehicle crash left one person dead and four others injured.