In a report from the ongoing investigation, the FHP says two cars had been southbound on I-75, one in the center lane and one in the inside lane, north of the accident Trooper Richard was working in the median Saturday afternoon, May 3. Troopers say the driver of the car in the center lane “…abruptly applied his brakes due to stopped traffic causing [the vehicle] to slide sideways, into the inside lane.” The FHP says the car in the inside lane then sideswiped the car from the center lane and [the car from the inside lane] was “…redirected onto the median [and] traveled southeast between the parked cars [from the first accident] and the guardrail.” In doing so, the FHP says the vehicle struck two of the cars, then the trooper and the two people out with her, and then another vehicle.
The trooper was identified as 30-year old Chelsea Richard of Ocala. The tow truck driver was identified as 57-year old John W. Duggan of Williston, Florida. Trooper Richards and Mr. Duggan were pronounced dead at the scene. The third pedestrian, 55-year old George R. Phillips of Ocala, the father of a passenger in the initial accident, passed away at Ocala Regional Medical Center later Saturday night, May 3.
The FHP says Trooper Richard had been with the Florida Highway Patrol for nine years, and was assigned to Troop B in the Ocala area.
Update May 4, 2014.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the third pedestrian injured in the I-75 crash near Ocala Saturday passed away late Saturday night at Ocala Regional Medical Center. FHP spokesperson Sgt. Tracy Hisler-Pace identified the pedestrian as 52-year old George R. Phillips of Ocala. The FHP also says Trooper Richard was the 45th Florida Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty. Sgt. Hisler-Pace also said charges are pending in the crash, but that it could take investigators "...several months..." to analyze the physical evidence and witness statements and complete the traffic homicide investigation.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was killed in an accident on I-75 in the Ocala area Saturday. FHP spokesperson Sgt. Tracy Hisler-Pace reports that the trooper had been working a traffic accident at the 341 mile marker on southbound I-75 early Saturday afternoon. Two cars had been involved in the crash and were on the shoulder of the interstate. The FHP says about twenty minutes later at around 2 p.m., the trooper was talking with a tow truck driver when another multiple-vehicle crash happened in the same area. Sgt. Hisler-Pace says a southbound pickup truck in that crash “…traveled onto the east shoulder and struck the FHP Patrol vehicle, the trooper, the tow truck driver and another pedestrian as they stood on the shoulder of the road.” The FHP says the trooper and the tow truck driver were pronounced dead at the scene. The third pedestrian was listed in critical condition at Ocala Regional Hospital.
Southbound lanes of I-75 in the Ocala area experienced heavy delays during the traffic homicide investigation, and the FHP said drivers should use alternate routes in that area. The FHP says a press conference is also planned for later Saturday evening.
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