Florida Highway Patrol reported a major accident with multiple deaths in the southbound lanes of I-75 near the Toledo exit in North Port.
The sequence of events that led to the deadly crash took place after a car hauler driven by fifty one year old truck driver Eric Shawback from Haines City pulled the car hauler over onto the should just south of the Toledo Blade blvd. exit and stopped due to a mechanical failure in the truck.
After stopping on the shoulder of the southbound lanes, Shawback exited the vehicle.
At approximately fifteen minutes after five in the morning twenty three year old driver Nathaniel Perkins III from Fort Myers approached in a Nissan Murano SUV with passenger 22 year old Johnneisha Gadson of Fort Myers, and twenty three year old passenger Sharnice Brown, also from Fort Myers. For reasons not yet known, Perkins drove onto the shoulder and crashed into the car hauler trailer at speed.
The force of the impact redirected the Murano, causing it to travel across the highway and slide back into the path of oncoming southbound traffic.
At the same time twenty one year old Hunter Harris from Port Charlotte was driving his Toyota Avalon with passengers 21 year old Austin Diedrick of Port Charlotte, and Anthony Dejesus also from Port Charlotte, in the southbound lanes of I-75 when the Murano careened off the car hauler directly into his path where the two vehicles collided.
Both the driver of Murano, Perkins and passenger Gadson were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The second passenger Sharnice Brown suffered serious injuries and was taken by EMS to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Shawback, the driver of the tractor trailer was hit by a vehicle or debris and died at the scene.
The driver and passengers in the Toyota Avalon all suffered minor injuries during the crash.
FHP also added that several subsequent crashes took place as traffic on I-75 came to an abrupt halt however no further injuries were reported.
Florida Highway Patrol announced an investigation into the crash was ongoing.