ORLANDO, Fla. – A 38-year-old woman died when she exited her car after a crash on Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando and fell off an overpass onto a road below, according to police.
The initial crash was reported Friday morning on I-4 east near Central Boulevard.
Orlando police said the woman exited her vehicle and may have been struck by another car when she fell or was catapulted onto Garland Avenue. Her name has not been released.
“What happened is there was an initial crash on I-4 involving two vehicles. The occupants of those vehicles were out of their cars. A third vehicle that was not involved in the initial crash came in and rear-ended one of those vehicles from the initial crash," said Sgt. David Baker, with the Orlando Police Department.
Baker said investigators believe it was the second crash that may have caused the woman’s fall.
“In some way, as a result of the second impact, one of (the) persons that was involved in the first crash was knocked over the I-4 ramp and then fell down into this area," Baker said.
He said, to the best of his knowledge, the woman was in between the two vehicles involved in the initial crash, but the exact details of her location when the second impact took place is still being investigated.
Two lanes of I-4 east were closed near Central.
Traffic homicide investigators were called to the scene, and an investigation is ongoing.
The woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died. Officials with the Orlando Police Department later identified her as 38-year-old Michelle Batista.
Baker issued a reminder after the incident asking drivers to pay close attention to their surroundings and stay off the roadway if possible.
“Unfortunately, some people drive distracted. They don’t pay attention, they may not see you, so certainly we want people to stay off the roadway, to stay in their cars,” Baker said.
Baker said Florida law requires drivers to move their vehicles out of the roadway, if possible. after a crash.
“One of the primary reasons for this practice is help ensure their safety and the safety of others, due to the dangers created by blocking active roadways,” Baker said. “I have no knowledge of whether that played a part in today’s fatal crash, as that will all be part of the THU investigation.”
The Florida Department of Transportation also issued a statement after the incident.
“Loss of life on Florida’s roadways is tragic under any circumstance. The department remains committed to safety along Florida’s roadways," FDOT Communications Manager Steve Olson said. "The I-4 team will review the circumstances of this incident and will continue its focus on safety throughout the project limits.”
No other details have been released.
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