One person was killed and four others were injured in a five-vehicle pileup on the Florida Turnpike on Friday morning.
The crash took place in Sumter County in the northbound lanes of the turnpike, just north of Mile Marker 303. Traffic on the turnpike was congested at the time due to another incident involving two semi-trucks at Mile Marker 307 that forced Florida Highway Patrol troopers to shut down all lanes of the roadway.
The 10:16 a.m. crash took place when a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox driven by 32-year-old Anthony Melo failed to slow down and collided with the rear of a 2019 Nissan Sentra driven by 53-year-old Luis Strubbe, of Miami. That started a chain-reaction crash where Strubbe’s vehicle hit a 2019 Jeep Compass driven by 21-year-old Marian Segura Palmero, of St. Cloud, who in turn ran into a 2016 Honda Accord driven by 23-year-old Jerry James, of Heidelberg, Miss., a Florida Highway Patrol report states.
Melo’s SUV then hit the outside guardrail before coming back onto the roadway and slamming into a 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage driven by 30-year-old Sarah Kimball, of Port St. Lucie, the FHP report says.
Teresita Noriega, 52, a passenger in Strubbe’s vehicle, was transported to Leesburg Regional Medical Center, where the Miami native was pronounced dead, the report says.
Melo, of Groveland, received minor injuries and was transported to South Lake Hospital in Clermont. Strubbe also received minor injuries and was treated at Ocala Regional Medical Center.
Both Kimball and her passenger, 5-year-old Elena Carney, also of Port St. Lucie, suffered minor injuries and were transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando. Neither Palmero nor James were injured.
All seven people involved in the crash were wearing seat belts. Alcohol was ruled out as a factor in the incident and charges are pending the outcome of the FHP’s investigation, the report says.