Fiery crash closes much of I-75 north of Tampa

Published On: Mar 21 2013 09:34:44 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 21 2013 09:31:37 PM EDT

One of the Interstate 75 southbound lanes in Pasco County reopened Thursday evening following a fiery crash between a tractor trailer carrying mail and a dump truck, the Florida Highway Patrol reported

Crews repaired the damaged asphalt on one lane, and the second lane was expected to be finished later Thursday, FHP spokesman Steve Gaskins said. Northbound traffic remained open throughout the day.

No one was seriously injured in the morning crash. Both drivers got out of their vehicles and were taken to hospitals for observation.

Officials from the U.S. Postal Service were at the scene to collect mail, much of which was burned or destroyed in the fire. Postal service spokeswoman Debby Fetterly said the truck was carrying magazines and third-class mail from Jacksonville to Tampa. Customers who believe they may have had mail on the truck should call the postal service's consumer affairs office at 813-354-6265.

Gaskins said southbound traffic was cleared from I-75 by about 9:30 a.m. Traffic was being diverted to exit 279 toward State Road 54.

The mail truck crashed into a construction zone guardrail before partially jackknifing into the center median. A dump truck crashed into the truck, resulting in the fire.

FHP said the truck was operated by Jacksonville-based Pat Salmon & Sons of Florida. Driver Mark Alan Berrier, 55, was taken to University Community Hospital in Tampa. The dump truck's driver, Manuel Francisco Rodriguez Rivera, 42, was taken to Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel. His truck belongs to R & D Hauling of Land `O Lakes.

An investigation is continuing.


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