A 15-vehicle crash sent six people to the hospital Saturday night in Seminole County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP Lt. Kim Montes said dashcam video from a witness will help determine if the crash was street racing or road rage.
The Seminole County Fire Department said the multi-vehicle crash occurred on southbound State Road 417 near Red Bug Lake Road, forcing a shutdown of SR-417 in both directions.
“When we talked to the two individuals who caused the crash, at the hospital they give troopers different stories saying it was more an aggressive driving or road rage situation,” Montes said.
Preliminary information from the department said 17 vehicles were involved, but the FHP investigating the crash said 15 vehicles were involved. Officials said 24 people were involved and six of them were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Investigators said a trooper was told it appeared two cars were racing southbound on S.R.-417. The two cars, driven by two 18-year-olds, crashed and the 13 other vehicles crashed in a chain reaction.
The agency said it is investigating whether the crash was a result of street racing or stemming from a road rage incident.
Troopers are currently investigating three fatal street racing crashes across Central Florida just in the past few weeks.
Last Monday, a driver lost his life street racing after crashing into a light pole and overturning on East Colonial Drive in Orlando, Montes said.
Montes said street racing is still out of control happening all over at all times of day and night.
“On a public roadway, on a very highly-populated road, US-192, I-4, S.R. 417, not only at 2 a.m. but 4 p.m., when families are driving home from school, when parents are coming back from work, when families are going out to Friday night dinner,” Montes said. “It’s out of control because of the risks that are being put out there for innocent drivers that have no idea what’s going on around them.”
Montes said Troopers are impounding more cars and sending more drivers to prison.
“If your child and I say, child - doesn’t have to be 15 or 16 years old, could be a 24-year-old - is in the driveway constantly modifying the vehicle, adding nitrous, changing and modifying the exhaust, adding window tint, adding writing all over, you need to have a serious conversation with them and let them know if you get in a crash and kill someone and you’re street racing, that’s vehicular homicide,” Montes said.
Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson said Florida’s roads are “made for speed.”
“They are flat, wide and typically multilane,” Wilson said. “I think where there are opportunities we need to design and engineer for slower roads. I’ve spoken with urban planners who specialize in this type of “road diet” and they agree that with our oversized, super-fast roads we’ve created the perfect environment for illegal street racing.”
Wilson said the safe street design would not have really helped over the week because the crash took place on State Road 417.
“I believe there are opportunities with FDOT and the Expressway Authority to add some protective measures such as additional surveillance, lighting and signage.”