Southbound I-75 in Hillsborough closed after crash sends car into river

Southbound Interstate 75 in Gibsonton was closed this morning after a fatal crash in which a car went into the Alafia River and an ABC Liquors tractor trailer overturned.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the semi truck and a BMW were traveling south on I-75 approaching the Alafia River bridge around 2:30 a.m.

As of 8:15 a.m., the two outside lanes of the highway were being opened, according to the FHP website.

With visibility limited by fog, the two vehicles collided, and the BMW traveled off the inside shoulder of the bridge and into the Alafia River.

The semi overturned, spilling a large portion of the 30,000 gallons of alcoholic beverages it was carrying onto the highway, troopers said.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue’s dive team attempted to rescue the driver of the BMW, but were unsuccessful. That driver died at the scene. The driver of the semi was taken to Tampa General Hospital with minor injuries.

“It’s a good 20-foot plunge (into the river) off the interstate,” said Chip Shields of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Neither driver has been identified.

Crews are working to clear the tractor trailer and its contents from the highway while southbound traffic is being diverted onto State Road 60.

Authorities are recommending U.S. 301 and U.S. 41 as alternate routes.