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Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Pumpkin pileup: I-75 lanes reopen after semi catches fire, dumps load in Pasco

SAN ANTONIO — All southbound lanes on Interstate 75 in Pasco County reopened Friday afternoon after the fiery morning crash of a semitrailer truck damaged the highway and created a mess of pumpkins and other debris.

Around 4:30 a.m., the semitrailer hauling pumpkins was southbound on I-75 in the outside lane, north of State Road 52, when it traveled off the road near the exit and smashed into a device at the ramp designed to absorb the impact of a crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The vehicle went several hundred feet before coming to rest in the outside lane and erupting into flames, troopers said.

They said the driver, Lortatia Marshall, 44, of Georgia, was able to get out of the trailer with no injuries.

Helicopters above the scene captured video of loaders scooping up charred pumpkins that had spilled into the roadway.

One southbound lane on I-75 reopened just before noon as crews repaved asphalt damaged in the crash. The other lane reopened just before 3 p.m., officials said.

Traffic was being diverted onto SR-52 while lanes were closed.

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