NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) says one trooper was working all of Volusia County on Wednesday night when a massive accident happened on Interstate 95 and started the night working a completely separate crash further north.
The accident was a domino of disaster, that's happened again and again in Central Florida, but the massive pile-up may have been one of the most dangerous situations in decades.
"The smoke and fog I saw this morning when I arrived on scene an hour and a half after the first crash was one of the worst I've ever seen," recalled Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes.
The combination of fog and smoke from a prescribed burn caused the blinding condition. FHP says they are looking into whether they missed an alert about a burn in the area.
"Right now we weren’t able to find where we've been told, but still double-checking all our calls to make sure we didn't miss a call,’ Montes said, "we've opened communication up with the division of forestry, there's better communication between state agencies, so we can reduce the incidents of this occurring."
Since the year 2000, there have been at least eight major accidents like this, together claiming 28 lives and injuring nearly a hundred. In Polk County in 2008, 70 vehicles collided killing five people. In 2012, super fog near Gainesville caused a 19 vehicle pile-up that killed eleven. In 2018 there was a 17-car crash on state road 520 that left 8 people hurt.