Anthropologists work to ID remaining I-75 crash victims

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GAINESVILLE, Fla.,None —

At the center of last weekend's deadly pile-up is the controversy over whether state troopers should have reopened I-75, despite the dangers of smoke.

WFTV’s Steve Barrett found a Lake Mary woman who drove that same route 30 minutes before the pile-up, and saw some very different conditions.

As FDLE reviews the actions of the Florida Highway Patrol, and other officers and deputies who directed drivers back onto I-75 over the weekend, Jane Blaser said she believes they did nothing wrong.

“I'm really sorry about what happened to those people -- it's horrible,” she said.

Blaser was in the front of the line when troopers re-opened the highway early Sunday morning. She said troopers did the right thing, and could not have predicted the fog and smoke that created a disaster within the hour.

“It was clear. I know we often shut down roads in Volusia because of fire, and so I'm used to the haze that comes with that,” Blaser said. 

Meanwhile, a small church in Georgia whose pastor and family were killed in the I-75 pileup is now trying to figure out how pay for their burial.

The pastor, his wife and daugher are among the deceased. Church members are now working to get their bodies back to Georgia, and then to Brazil to bury them.  

The pastor's other daughter survived the crash, and is still hospitalized. Tthe question is what happens to her next, since she's not a U.S. citizen.

The death toll was raised to 11 when another body was found in the charred wreckage Tuesday. Three of those bodies have still not been identified, and investigators have now called in anthropologists to help identify those victims.

Those anthropologists have only been given  bone fragments and teeth to help with the identification.

The three victims were all in a Dodge pickup truck that was crushed and burned along with three other vehicles and two semi's on the southbound lanes of I-75.

Families and survivors of the pileup will now benefit from a special state fund meant to help pay medical bills and funerals. Click here to  donate to the Florida Foundation fund.