Troopers believe driver was distracted when she hit, killed 4 people changing flat tire on I-75 in Sarasota

Sarasota County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Four men in Sarasota were struck by a vehicle and killed Thursday night after they stopped on Interstate 75 to change a flat tire, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Troopers said seven people got out of a pickup truck after the driver blew a tire at mile marker 209. Four of them were struck by a sedan that had veered off the road at about 9:50 p.m.

Any possible charges for the driver, a 34-year-old Lakeland woman, are still pending as the investigation continues. Troopers believe something distracted the woman when she veered off the roadway.

“A moment of distraction took the lives of four people. Their families are crushed,” said FHP Trooper Kenn Watson. “We also have affected that driver. From now on every time she lays her head on a pillow, she has to understand that she took four lives because she simply was not paying attention,” he continued.

The crash investigation shut down the southbound lanes of the interstate for several hours.

“Bottom line, getting behind the wheel is a privilege. It is not a right. Take it seriously, do the right thing, situational awareness, both hands on the wheel, and devices down,” said Trooper Watson.

The Florida Highway Patrol is asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call troopers at 239-938-1800 or *FHP.

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