At least four people have been killed and an Osceola sheriff's deputy injured in a traffic accident this morning on Florida's Turnpike in south Osceola County, the Florida Highway Patrol says.
According to FHP Sgt. Jorge Delahoz, the accident left several semi-trailer trucks, about 15 cars and a fire rescue vehicle mangled on the turnpike. The accident happened near the location where the turnpike was closed Monday afternoon because of a 50-acre brush fire that burned in a mostly rural area.
"A thick bank of smoke flared up in the area and there was zero visibility," Delahoz said. "Right now the air is clear and you'd never know there was a fire here."
The accident, reported at 8:20 a.m., happened on the southbound lanes at mile marker 209 in the Kenansville area. The turnpike is closed both directions between Yeehaw Junction at State Road 60 and St. Cloud at U.S. Highway 192 (from mile marker 193 to mile marker 244), a 51-mile stretch.
In addition to the four confirmed fatalities, another person is in critical condition, Delahoz said. One person remains trapped in a wrecked vehicle.
Deputy Marcus Bryan, who has been with the Sheriff's office since 2003, was assisting at the scene when he was struck by a vehicle. Bryan, 35, was flown to Holmes Regional Medical Center. Details about his injuries were not released.
For those unfamiliar with the Turnpike, there is a 90 mile stretch on the road with only one exit.
Responding to highway accidents is dangerous work for law enforcement. People don't slow down or are too distracted by rubbernecking. Say a prayer for Deputy Bryan and his family.
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