A fiery crash Thursday morning closed down southbound Interstate 75 in Wesley Chapel for nearly the whole day, creating a nightmare for drivers.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 75 between State Roads 54 and 56 were closed until about 5:30 p.m., when one lane finally opened. Crews have since repaired the interstate.
A semi-truck carrying U.S. Postal Service mail and a garbage truck burst into flames after a collision near SR 54, damaging the roadway.
Much of the mail was destroyed by the fire. Postal service officials told FOX 13 the truck included items like magazines, sales fliers, advertisements and other third-class mail.
The post office says if customers believe they had mail on truck, call 813-354-6265.
It all started around 6:30 a.m., when the mail truck collided with a guard rail on the interstate, jackknifing it in the road. The garbage truck was unable to stop in time and slammed into it from behind, igniting both vehicles.
Luckily, troopers say the drivers – Mark Alan Berrier (mail truck) and Manuel Francisco Rodriguez Rivera (garbage truck) – were able to get out of the trucks unharmed. They were taken to a local hospital but were OK.
A postal inspector told FOX 13 that about a dozen employees will pick through the mail and try to determine what belongs where.
"The road is damaged. They're going to have to actually re-mill and repave the road before we open it up for safe travel and passing motorists," FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins said Thursday afternoon.
The view from SkyFOX showed firefighters removing what looked like crates of mail from the charred truck early in the morning. Officials said a lot of it was destroyed.
(Photos courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol)
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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