Another victim of the deadly Florida car crashes on Interstate 75 was found on late Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 11. The Medical Examiner's Officer determined that a third victim was discovered in a Dodge pickup, The Gainseville Sun reported.
Lt. Patrick Riordan of the Florida Highway Patrol said the driver and the latest victim had not been identified yet. On Sunday, the car was engulfed in flames and incinerated after it hit a semi that stopped because of poor visibility.
Riordan said that the latest victim's car was completely on fire, making it difficult for emergency responders to rescue the victims and identify the number of people inside. The Medical Examiner's Officer later determined that three people were in the vehicle instead of two as initially reported.
The Highway Patrol on Tuesday, released the name of the eighth person killed in the crashes. They said Vontavia Kiara Robinson, 22, of Williston was driving a Pontiac Grand Prix in the southbound lane when she crashed around 4 a.m. The name of the passenger in her vehicle has not been released, reported The Associated Press.
Investigators are still putting together the chain of events from Sunday's crashes as they continue to make assessments about why the tragic accident occurred.
Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said that multiple crashes occurred around 4 a.m. on the both the northbound and southbound lanes in Alachua County. At least 12 passenger cars and several semi-trucks were involved in the accident that resulted in 10 fatalities. That day, at least 18 people were transported the Shands Hospital in Gaineseville and other hospitals in the surrounding area.
Poor visibility is being blamed for the crashes. Reports are that a nearby brush fire caused severe smoke to accumulate along the highway. The National Weather Service had issued a dense smoke advisory on Sunday, according to CNN, but authorities allowed the highway to remain open.
You could hear cars hitting each other, Steven R. Camps, a survivor of the accident, told The AP. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy. If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of world.
An investigation is currently underway to determine if the Florida Highway Patrol followed correct procedures when it allowed the highway to remain open.
Riordan said on Tuesday, that District Lt. John Gourely was the shift commander on Sunday night and Capt. Coby Fincher and Troop Comdr. Gene Spaulding were the supervisors who allowed I-75 to remain open, reported The Gainsville Sun.
He is feeling a little bit of heat, Riordan said of Gourley. We had a three-hour window that we waited to evaluate the conditions on the road before we opened it up. Three hours is a long time. He made the decision to open the roadway and approximately 45 minutes later, the collisions occurred.