3/21/13 5:30 p.m. Update: One lane has reopened on southbound I-75
Wesley Chapel, Florida -- A major crash may keep southbound lanes of Interstate 75 shut down in Pasco County until 6 p.m. or later tonight.
The Florida Highway Patrol says a tractor trailer carrying mail was driving south on I-75 around 6:30 Thursday morning, just north of SR-56, when the driver collided with a guardrail that had been placed in a construction zone.
The crash caused the tractor trailer to partially jackknife and collide with the center median. A dump truck driving behind the tractor trailer was unable to stop or avoid collision, and crashed into the tractor trailer's rear.
Fortunately, neither driver was seriously hurt, and both were able to get out before a fire erupted on the tractor trailer. The driver of the tractor trailer, 55-year-old Mark Alan Berrier, and the driver of the dump truck, 42-year-old Manuel Francisco Rodriguez Rivera, were taken to area hospitals for observation.
All southbound lanes of I-75 are currently shut down. Officials say the roadway asphalt needs to be replaced before the interstate can be reopened, which could take until 6 p.m. or later.
Northbound traffic was down to only one lane for a while, but all lanes have since reopened.
Southbound traffic on I-75 will be diverted onto Exit 279 (SR-54). The FHP urges motorists to seek alternate southbound routes for the remainder of the day, including US 41 and US 301.
No personal mail items believed to be on truck
Members of the U.S. Postal Service are on scene to recover mail that was on board the tractor trailer, much of which was damaged or destroyed.
Officials tell 10 News the mail on board was third class -- mostly magazines and advertisements. No personal items such as IRS forms or letters are believed to have been on board.
The mail was destined for the city of Tampa and its suburbs, but not separate cities such as Plant City or Lakeland.
The USPS will try and deliver anything with a readable address. They say anyone thinks their mail may have been affected by the crash can call the USPS Consumer Affairs Office at 813-354-6265 in Tampa.
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