Florida Crash Reports 10 Dead

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By Brendan Giusti , Christian Post Reporter
January 30, 2012|1:49 pm

A Florida highway pileup kills 10 and injures at least a dozen more on Sunday.

The deadly accident happened on Interstate 75, near Gainesville, Fla. Smoke and haze made visibility difficult along the road, and in some sections, drivers reported being blinded by it.

The smoke from nearby brush fires and fog were to blame for causing "blindness" reported by drivers.

The highway was just reopened by officials before the deadly crash. It has previously been close because of the heavy smoke and fog mixture.

Officials believe, but could not confirm, that arson caused the brush fires, which produces the deadly smoke on the highway

The deadly mixture also made rescue efforts more difficult.

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"(It was) probably the worst one I've seen in 27 years," Florida Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. Patrick Riordan said about the pileup.

Wreckage was strung along the highway for about a mile, according to reports. Officials could not say how many separate accidents occurred in the deadly pileup, but cars were involved on both sides of the highway.

First responders were only able to listen for screams and moans when they arrived, because visibility was so poor, from the dark, fog and smoke.

Some cars and tractor-trailers burst into flames along the highway after slamming into other vehicles, according to reports.

"That's a very scary thing when you can't see anything and hear the squealing of tires and don't know if 2,000 pounds of metal is coming at you," Alachua County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Kelly told the Gainesville Sun. Smoke billowed from the wreckage for hours, according to reports. Officials did not release the names of the victims, though did say that a "tour bus-like" vehicle involved in the pileup.

The fires that cause the smoke are also blamed for burning more than 62 acres of brush over the weekend, according to reports. It is unclear what cause the fires, though investigators suspect arson to be likely.

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