TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for the person responsible for a fiery crash that injured a truck driver on Interstate 275 in Tampa on Wednesday night.
The crash shut down the southbound lanes of the interstate for several hours. The roadway reopened around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.
According to the Highway Patrol, the unknown driver was traveling south near the Waters Avenue exit and hit the side of a semi-truck when they tried to change lanes.
Their car hit a guardrail and overturned. The semi overturned, caught fire and spilled vegetable oil on the roadway. Another driver was unable to stop in time and struck the semi’s undercarriage, according to troopers.
The semi-truck driver, a 51-year-old Summerfield man, suffered serious injuries.
“Because the how the truck was positioned, I understand that there was some kind of cooking oil that was released during the crash it took an extended period to clean it up,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers said the first driver and their passengers ran away from the scene and were not identified. It’s unknown why they fled.
“For whatever reason, people leave the scene of crashes quite frequently,” Gaskins said. “Unfortunately, and for whatever reason suspended license, maybe there’s a warrant, they don’t have insurance, there’s a plethora of reasons why people leave, but it’s illegal to leave the scene.”
Anyone with information regarding the driver or their whereabouts is asked to call FHP at *FHP or Crime Stoppers at **TIPS.