OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - One person was killed and four others injured in a crash Monday morning on the Florida Turnpike in Osceola County.
The crash happened about 9:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the turnpike near Kenansville, shutting down the lanes for about four hours.
An SUV carrying six people was traveling northbound when it blew a tire. Florida Highway Patrol said the SUV overturned, crossed into the median and onto the southbound lanes.
Three occupants were ejected as the SUV rolled, and one was pronounced dead at the scene. That victim’s name has not been released, pending notification of next of kin.
Andy Martinez, 24, Arturo Martinez, 14, both of Miami, and Hilda Insante, 10, suffered serious injuries in the crash.
Ashley Fowler, 22, and Angelica Martinez, 22, were thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.
"Only two of the six were wearing their
seat belts," said Sgt. Jorge Delahoz.
Investigators said the inside of the tire started to melt. The heat combined with a car fully loaded with luggage and possibly under-inflated tires combined to create a situation only the most experienced driver would be able to handle, authorities said.
Delahoz said the treads separated from the tire in long strips, and the car was out of control.
"Once that tire fails, control is gone,” said Delahoz. “There's no more contact between the vehicle and the roadway. It's very hard to maintain control, especially at highway speed."
Authorities shut down the southbound lanes, but they have since reopened.