Image: Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 south of Gainesville, Fla
Matt Stamey  /  The Gainesville Sun via AP
Officials work at the scene of a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 75 south of Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday. staff and news service reports
updated 2/1/2012 6:57:13 AM ET 2012-02-01T11:57:13

The body of an eleventh person has been found in a pickup truck days after a deadly pileup on Interstate 75, the Florida Highway Patrol said Wednesday.

The Highway Patrol said the Alachua County Medical Examiner's Office determined Tuesday that another victim was inside a Dodge pickup truck that crashed into a tractor trailer as it traveled south early Sunday.

The driver and another passenger in that vehicle have still not been identified.

Fog and smoke reduced visibility along the stretch of highway south of Gainesville, causing authorities to close I-75 for more than three hours early Sunday.

Authorities reopened the road shortly before the pileups occurred on both the northbound and southbound lanes.

The Ledger newspaper reported Wednesday that at least 21 people went to hospitals in the area.

The paper said the cause of a brush fire that produced the smoke was still unknown.

Story: Pileup felt like 'end of the world'

Steven Camps, 23, of Gainesville, said Sunday that he and a friend had stopped due to the smoke and began talking to a man in the car stopped next to them, when another vehicle hit the man's car.

Camps said the man's vehicle was crushed under a semi-truck stopped in front of them. Camps said his car was hit twice, but he and his friend were able to jump out. They took cover in the grass on the shoulder of the road.

Video: Deadly crashes close I-75 (on this page)

"You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy," he said. "If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of world."

He said cars and trucks were on fire and they could hear explosions as the vehicles burned.

"It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind," he said. "It was like a war zone. It literally looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Deadly crashes close I-75

  1. Closed captioning of: Deadly crashes close I-75

    >> tonight a stretch of i-75 remains closed in florida . 15 hours after a deadly pileup this morning. cars, trucks and tractor-trailers collided in a mangled mess as a brush fire raged nearby. blinded by haze and smoke, rescuers rushed to help as crashes continued to happen all around them. tonight there are questions about why that stretch of highway was open in the first place. we get our record from nbc's lilja luciano.

    >> reporter: it's hard to tell from the cluster of these blurnt-out shells how many vehicles came crashing together on florida 's interstate 75 north of orlando early this morning. witnesses describe the scene as looking like it was the end of the world . police say at least ten people are dead and some 20 others injured after a blinding mix of heavy fog and thick smoke from a nearby brush fire blew across the highway, reducing visibility and causing havoc on both north and southbound sides of the highway.

    >> smoke and fog settled over the area quickly and dismated the visibility.

    >> reporter: highway patrol officials say they closed the road earlier but reopened it deciding visibility had improved enough and traffic was light at the time. not long after the deadly collisions began. thes started around 3:45 in the morning. when rescuers arrived police say visibility was so poor they could only find the victims by following their screams for help. officials say there were seven tractor-trailers and at least 12 passenger vehicles involved in the pileup. rescue crews were still removing bodies from the site well into the afternoon. peeling off the tops of cars to extract trapped victims. nearly 15 miles of i-75, the interstate that runs north to south on the western side of florida , remained closed throughout the day as investigators worked the scene. authorities say the brush fire that started saturday afternoon was not natural and could have been intentionally set. lilja luciano, nbc news, miami.


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