Coughing fit causes tractor-trailer carrying lumber to crash on I-4

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A tractor-trailer carrying lumber lost control on Interstate 4 eastbound early Friday morning, spilling the load on his truck.

Troopers said the driver, Carl Thompson, 60, of Winter Haven began coughing and lost control of the truck.

Three other cars crashed while trying to avoid the debris that spilled onto the westbound lanes of the highway, troopers said.

One of cars rolled several times, injuring the two people inside.

An ambulance was struck from behind by another driver as it arrived to take the injured to the hospital.

The cleanup took seven hours, troopers said.

The injuries to three people were minor, but the mess was a huge traffic nightmare Friday morning, forcing drivers off the interstate and onto side streets.

Thompson was ticketed for careless driving after telling troopers that he lost control of his vehicle.

"He started coughing, and as he started coughing he lost control. The left side of truck struck the center concrete barrier, sending the lumber that was on the bed of the semi into the west bound lanes," said Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Both people in the first car that crashed were hospitalized, along with the driver of the car that crashed into the ambulance. 

The two rescue workers in the ambulance were not injured.