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BREAKING: 5 Confirmed Dead in Horrific Highway Crash – UPDATE

BROOKSVILLE – Fire Rescue is on the scene of an accident at the intersection of Hwy 98 and Citrus Way that has claimed the lives of 5 people.

Officials have not released a report at this time, but according to our sources a box truck loaded with an unknown substance collided with a pickup truck at that intersection.

One person was airlifted to a local trauma center with unknown injuries and a second trauma patient was transported by ground.

A hazmat unit is on the scene to determine the type of chemicals that have spilled.

We will bring more on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: 7/27/2015, 12:03 PM – The Florida Highway has confirmed 5 fatalities associated with the accident. 

UPDATE 7/27/2015, 2:34 PM – FHP: At 10:30 AM this morning at the intersection of Citrus Way (CR-491) and Ponce De Leon Blvd (SR-700) a fatal traffic crash occurred.  FHP Troopers responded to the scene and have determined that a 2007 International single-unit box truck traveling southbound on Citrus Way failed to stop at the intersection of SR-700 which is controlled by stop signs and flashing red stop lights.  As the Box Truck continued into the intersection it collided with a 2006 Chevrolet pickup towing a utility trailer which was traveling westbound on SR-700.  Post-impact, the Chevy pickup caught fire and burned intensely.  Five occupants of the pickup sustained fatal injuries and expired at the scene of the crash.  Two occupants of the box truck sustained serious injuries and were airlifted to area hospitals.  FHP Troopers continue to investigate this crash and motorists are ask to avoid the area for the next several hours.  The identities of the occupants of both vehicles will be released after they are officially identified and next-of-kin notification has been completed. This notification process will be delayed due to the fire damage to the victims.  More information will follow as it becomes available.

UPDATE: 7/27/2015, 2:36 PM – Assistant Chief Kevin Carroll of Hernando County Fire Rescue says, due to the large amount to transmission fluid, gear and motor oil that leaked into a drainage area, a HAZMAT Unit responded to assist in the cleanup. 

UPDATE: 7/28/2015, 12:00 PM – The FHP has identified the driver of the box truck as 22-year-old Randy Escobar-Barrera of Tampa and his passenger as 41-year-old Ariel Baez also of Tampa. Escobar sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Bayonet Point Hospital for treatment. Baez sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Bayonet point, where his condition is unknown at this time. 

The identities of the five male victims remain undisclosed due to the condition of the bodies. All five victims are from Winter Haven according to officials. 



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Citrus Way Fatal July 27 (3)


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  • Thank you every one my family appreciates it so much. we lost five good hard working guys . and good fathers ad husbands and uncle and friends but in my heart you will always be

    Thursday, 6 August 2015, 7:31 pm
  • So sad something of this magnitude have to happen before officials will put up traffic lights in the dangerous intersection way to go official now five hard working men are dead now . way to go prayers go out to the families don’t have a dad or husband thank you officials for that . If you don’t put up a little now you must more people to die

    Thursday, 6 August 2015, 3:48 pm
  • Thank you for prayers and comments to everyone

    Thursday, 30 July 2015, 12:30 am
  • What a horrible accident, such a careless mistake…

    Wednesday, 29 July 2015, 1:10 am
  • The gentlemen that perished in this horrific accident were 5 great tower workers from a Tampa company. They were going to a cell site for work. Prayers go to these men’s families and may they Rest In Peace. It is a sad loss to all that knew them and the industry.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 11:46 pm
  • Thank you every one . I am the wife of one of them. Thank you for being there even with out knowing them.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 7:29 pm
    • Prayers to your family.

      Wednesday, 29 July 2015, 5:03 pm
  • Thank you. I got that. Im just afraid that the ambulance Chasers at M&M will get ahold of this and the families will not get the compensation they deserve. We have local competent attorneys and im not recommending @nyo ne. I just know that m&m herds their cases thru like cattle according to one of their paralegals.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 5:18 pm
  • Why so many people have to die due to people’s not making a stop? It’s a big intersection how come did someone dint stop causing dead at 5 incentives people’s this is so close to my family now there is women’s with no husband sons without dad’s we need to pay more attention to the road’s

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 4:10 pm
  • Troopers say it appears the victims in the pickup truck worked for a company in Polk County. They were from Winter Haven.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 4:03 pm
  • Esme, could you tell us the name of the company your cousins husband worked for?

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 2:39 pm
  • The picture of the burning truck with all five victims burning in it is totally inhumane that the family members now have to live with for the rest of their lives. My cousins husband was one of them! Very trajic n now to see this just made it worse for her! So heart breaking hearing her asking all this questions while holding their 3 month old baby wondering if he was still alive or not when it caught fire! Just so heart breaking! If it were your family would you want to see this?

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 2:14 pm
  • Correction…OUT of business, not NOT.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 1:15 pm
  • Interesting find this morning. My guess is that Escobar Trucking is not out of business, totally. Escobar Trucks Services Llc is an active carrier operating under USDOT Number 2597890.

    Total Trucks 1
    Tractors Owned 0
    Trailer Owned 0
    Total Drivers 1
    USDOT 2597890
    MCS-150 Mileage Year 2015
    MCS-150 Date 20-May-2015
    MCS-150 Mileage 1
    Does Escobar Trucks Services Llc transport Hazardous Material? No
    Carrier Operation Interstate
    Escobar Trucks Services Llc in business since 9-Apr-2015

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 1:14 pm
  • I noticed that the driver of the truck was an Escobar. Any information on that company…if it was even legit?

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 1:09 pm
  • Thank you. I saw that. I doubt they had insurance.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 1:06 pm
  • Tom, are there any updates on the name of the company these individuals worked for? You know Morgan & Morgan (puke) are going to be all over this.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 12:43 pm
  • Who else reports on Hernando? Bay News 9 but only when its convenient for them.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 12:05 pm
  • I Can see how this can happen there. I almost missed stopping there before, if your not paying attention it comes out of nowhere. Especially if you don’t travel that road much. Maybe they can put some more warning that the intersection is coming? I don’t think a light will do it because it will still sneak up on you! This is such a sad story my condolences to all involved but what can we do so it never happens again????

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 10:09 am
  • Changes need to be made.

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 8:41 am
  • really it has to come to this are they going to do something about that dangerous intersection now the officials knew that was a dangerous intersection way to go government I wonder how many more people have to die before you guys do something about that dangerous intersection duh

    Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 7:10 am
  • Prayers for all families this has touched…such a tragedy . ..

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 10:55 pm
  • Hey Travis if you don’t like it don’t read it!

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 10:46 pm
  • Tom does report on good as well as bad he reports school sports scores he has supported relay for life it is not just bad

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 10:45 pm
  • I’m sorry for you people bashing mr. Tom but if you watch tv news, it was on and showed the burning! Prayers for all the family’s that’s what matters at this time! Stop going on this site if you are looking to fight and condemn . Go to the gym and spar with each other!

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 9:55 pm
  • Citrus Way and the 98 intersection is so treacherous you take your life in your own hands crossing 98. Now maybe FDOT will step in and install traffic lights which is greatly needed, and then maybe tragedies like this one will not happen.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 9:44 pm
    • what was like when there wasnt stop lights? you stop at the sign look both ways, look back again and if its clear you go! very simple people, maybe the box truck stopped but didnt see them coming and proceeded through which is possible

      Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 9:54 pm
  • Seriously news is news and those who come on to bash & complain just feel the need to complain about something. The facts are this is real news and I for one want to know the good the bad and the ugly if my community. Great reporting Tom. Prayers to all those involved.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:43 pm
  • Well said Travis.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:42 pm
  • If you don’t like the reporting on this site, go somewhere else. Been an RN for 35 years and life’s events can be very ugly. I’ts sad, but hopefully educational. We never know when we get up in the morning, if we will go to sleep in the evening. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:39 pm
  • I agree with pickles….

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:35 pm
  • Then*

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:35 pm
  • Then why are you commenting Mr Travis???? Why do you have a subscription to realnewsrealfast???? Because Mr Travis, you too are interested in what’s going on in and around Hernando County…. if I am wrong thend why are you here????

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:34 pm
  • at least tom has the story, you negative ones can go pound salt

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:21 pm
  • okay… about this EVERYONE including mr.lemons. yes we live in a world of tragedy,danger and REAL life situations, BUT, always (90% of the time) high lighting accidents,murders, arrest’s and pessimistic events isnt naturly news. NEWS means everything from taxes, to elections, good deeds, local events in the community, even church events and the like. why is it that these “independant journalists or reporters” are always looking for the “attention getter”. in my opinion when all u report is death,smut and violence your no.better then the media scaring everyone into submission. kind of reminds me of the attorney chasing after ambulances. this society feeds off of violence,hate and ignorance and when you make it your sole duty to re-report it….why my friends your just feeding the machine which is fueled from this garbage. try concentrating on the good things in life and maybe u will.get more viewers and positive responses

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 8:16 pm
  • Thanks Tom for all the hard work you do to keep us in the loop of Hernando County…. The good and the bad…. once again prayers to all involved….. psssss….. JaneDoe….. this is realnewsrealfast…. the good, the bad, and the ugly….. at least it’s the truth and not what our government wants us to see and believe….

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 7:39 pm
  • I go through this intersection every morning and its at an odd angle – the way you have to pull to a stop at an angle makes it difficult to see sometimes, people just get into too much of a rush- seen near misses many times at that intersection

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 7:37 pm
    • it sounds like the driver didnt even bother to stop..a flashing light and a sgn should be a good enough warning to stop. If he had stopped and then started up, this accident wouldnt be as bad as it was..he had to have been travelling at a high rate of speed, and trucks of this size have a long stopping distance, whatever they hit will have a bad outcome –a 22 year old was driving, obviously not very experienced, or not paying attention, and didnt realize the power of the vehicle he was driving…local box truck drivers are not well regulated, and they should be…they should have the same age limits as 18 wheelers, and should be tested just like 18 wheelers. Wonder if the brakes were in good condition, or if the vehicle was even road worthy? They will find out, for sure. This accident was all over the TV news, with the vehicle shown burning, so i guess if this sort of news upsets you, you probably should not try to look at it…it is news….

      Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 7:29 pm
  • Sending prayers to all involved! God bless

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 6:56 pm
  • So, so sad. Prayers for all the families involved including emt and fire rescue!

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 6:53 pm
  • Tom some people want you to not report the news.Only the good stuff.We call them librals.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 6:32 pm
    • If you’re going to attempt an insult, dear, it would make you look less stupid if you spelled “liberals” correctly.

      Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 7:17 am
      • hes prolly from brooksville wher thay dont spell tinks correctly lol just my 2 cents wort

        Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 9:49 pm
  • Its not a bad intersection if you dont blow throw it. Im a class a driver and trucks get a bad rap but these damm box trucks get away with hell. Its obvious what happened. I cant belive this happened. Dot leaves these box trucks alone if it were a real truck the guy would get crusified if he put a scratch on someones bumper. If the trucker hit a motorcycle no one would care.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 6:07 pm
  • So very sad. My prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones. I’m now changing the way I travel to work.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 6:00 pm
  • Very tragic indeed. Prayers to the family. How many more have to die at this intersection?

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 5:23 pm
  • I cross here quite often and it is a dangerous intersection, I am always extra careful when I cross there, God bless the families of all involved.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 5:05 pm
  • Tragic. Prayers to all the families.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 4:41 pm
  • Major intersection with no traffic light. And it is at an awkward angle also makes it hard to see there. I bet a light gets put up now.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 4:33 pm
  • I was through there 2 minutes before this happened I wish I could have been there maybe I could have helped

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 4:31 pm
    • unless you had a fire truck i doubt you could have put the fire out to save any of them.

      Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 9:46 pm
  • Prayers go out to the families. What a mess.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 4:08 pm
  • @Jane doe, if you can’t handle real news, go read the funny papers

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 3:27 pm
  • Prayers to the families. Jane Doe, it appeared to be some kind of construction equipment in the truck, doubt it was a family, sad nonetheless. If you are going to bash @nyone, not just Mr. Lemons, use your real name. Otherwise you come off as a coward.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 3:24 pm
  • Not sure if the image of the burning vehicle is appropriate at this time, in the light that the next of kind have not been notified due to the damage to the bodies caused by the fire and the delay in the identification process.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 3:03 pm
  • So nice of you to post pictures a family that was burning to death. You have such class Mr Lemons

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 2:08 pm
  • Horrible!! I used to go to work that way every day. It’s a bad intersection with only a blinking light.
    My prayers are with the victims and their families.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 1:53 pm
  • Wow what a tragedy…Healing thoughts to all of the families…Remember to always let your loved ones know how much they are loved try not to leave angry as life is short and never know when will be the last chance to let them know……?

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 1:47 pm
  • Omgoodness……. prayers ascending to all involved…..

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 1:20 pm
  • Sad, very Sad, Thought and prayers go out to the families

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 1:16 pm
  • Tragic.Thoughts and prayers going out to the family’s.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:59 pm
  • My condolences goes out to the victims in this horrific crash scene this morning. God bless First Scene Responders for all they do & have to endure this situation..

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:45 pm
  • Wow wonder what caused this. So sad either way that 5 people won’t be going home to their family

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:26 pm
  • Terrible! May God watch over each and everyone of you. Prayers go out to the families ?

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:16 pm
  • This is so sad praying for the families.

    Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:13 pm

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