JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Fire Rescue said it’s a miracle no one was killed in an interstate pile-up on I-95 south near Airport Road Thursday afternoon.
The first 911 call came in around 3 p.m. Rescuers responded within minutes.
“I pulled up. All I could see were cars and trucks turned and crashed,” Jacksonville Fire Rescue Captain Eric Prosswimmer said.
These kinds of crashes are rare on Northeast Florida Highways, but are not unheard of.
News4JAX records show in 2014 Florida Highway Patrol worked a fiery crash involving 11 cars on Interstate 95 in St. Johns and Flager County. 6 people died.
Thursday’s crash involved 35 cars, multiple semitrucks, two extractions, and 11 people were taken to the hospital.
“When you’ve got sliding semitrucks and cars coming to screeching halts and people scattering in every different direction, it’s truly amazing and a miracle that nobody was killed,” Prosswimmer said.
Onlookers added to the danger during rescues and clean-up, according to Prosswimmer, as responders witnessed several passersby taking video of crashes while they were driving.
Florida Highway Patrol, the lead agency investigating the cause of the crash, said the interstate pile-up started when a car rear-ended another in the right lane.
Then a semi-driver who did not see the crash swerved to the center lane, hitting another semi, and like a chain reaction, other crashes followed.
So how do you protect yourself from these kinds of crashes?
Jason Dominguez at JAX driving school gave News4JAX answers.
“(When a semi is approaching,) I don’t want him behind me. I’m going to let him pass. I don’t want to be anywhere near him. Just stay away from him,” Dominguez said.
That’s the best thing to do, according to Dominguez: put as much distance as you can between you and a semitruck, and pay attention to what’s happening around you.