At least 10 people died and 18 were injured in a pileup early Sunday on a dark Florida highway near Gainesville.
At least 12 passenger vehicles and seven semi-tractor-trailer rigs collided in both north- and southbound lanes, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
“You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy,” the Gainesville man said hours later.
“If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of the world.”
Eighteen people were transported to Shands Hospital emergency room, six of them to a trauma center for people in critical condition, according to hospital spokeswoman Alison Wilson.
The section of the interstate was closed for much of Sunday, but the northbound lanes were reopened by early evening, and the southbound lanes were expected to be opening later in the night, Lt. Patrick Riordan of the Florida Highway Patrol said.
“It’s tragic. It’s probably the worst one (accident) I’ve seen in 27 years,” Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Patrick Riordan said.
Photographs of the scene taken hours later revealed an aftermath that resembled a Hollywood disaster movie. Twisted, burned-out vehicles were scattered across the pavement, with smoke still rising from the wreckage.