Median-Crossing Multivehicle Crash and Postcrash Fire on Interstate 75

Investigation Details

What Happened

​​​On Thursday, January 3, 2019, about 3:41 p.m. eastern standard time, a 2016 Freightliner truck-tractor in combination with a semitrailer, operated by Eagle Express Lines (Eagle Express truck), was traveling north in the right lane of Interstate 75 (I-75) near mile marker 393 in Alachua County, Florida, when it abruptly veered to the left and began an arcing path of travel across the other two travel lanes. Before the loss of control, the truck was traveling at a speed of 69–70 mph. As the vehicle veered left, the semitrailer sideswiped and appeared to ensnare a 2016 Acura MDX passenger car that was traveling in the left lane. The Eagle Express truck continued to the left, along with the redirected Acura, crashed through a W-beam median barrier at an encroachment angle of about 20 degrees, and entered the oncoming traffic in the southbound lanes. As the Eagle Express truck crossed into the southbound lanes, it struck a 2006 Chevrolet Express 3500 12-passenger van, owned and operated by a church group, which was traveling in the left lane. As a result of the impact, the van rolled over twice before coming to rest in an upright position. Ten of the 12 persons on board were ejected through windows and openings in the vehicle structure. Debris from the collision between the Eagle Express truck and the van struck a 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck traveling south in the center lane, behind the passenger van. The van and pickup truck were traveling at speeds of 75 and 72 mph, respectively.

What We Found

​​The probable cause of the Alachua, Florida, multivehicle crash was the medical incapacitation of the Eagle Express truck driver, which resulted in his failure to maintain his travel lane and led to the truck crossing the highway’s center median and colliding with several vehicles in the opposite lanes of travel.​