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One dead following fiery, four-vehicle crash in Florida

A chain reaction accident in Florida has left one driver dead and a stretch of highway seriously damaged. Officers with the Florida Highway Patrol believe the serious car accident began when the driver of a log truck in the left-hand lane of the highway lost control of his vehicle, causing it to veer into the right-hand lane. The truck then flipped over, causing its load of logs to spill out across the roadway.

A 16-year-old girl driving a sedan could not avoid striking the logs, which caused her car to overturn. A mail truck following the sedan was also unable to avoid the pileup and crashed into the logs. Finally, a tractor-trailer hauling volatile chemicals collided with the other vehicles and logs, causing it to burst into flames. A series of five explosions followed, which police believe to have been caused by the rupture of several chemical tanks.

One resident who lives near the accident site reported waking up due to the explosion. When he exited his house, he reported seeing a large plume of smoke rising from the crash scene.

The driver of the chemical truck died in the crash, while five people who were injured were transported to a nearby medical facility with minor injuries.

Emergency repair crews worked until midnight to patch the 100 feet of damaged asphalt affected by the explosion. The efforts were delayed several times due to complications from the chemicals, including a fire that reignited the remains of the tractor-trailer and a portion of the road. No one was injured in the repair.

Police have not indicated whether they believe the log truck driver is at fault for the accident, but a jury or judge in a civil lawsuit could hold the man accountable for the chemical truck drivers death and any injuries to any other drivers or passengers involved.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Traffic on the move along crash site on I-95 in Port Orange," Mark I. Johnson, Dec. 30, 2011

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