A 45-year-old woman from Lehigh Acres was seriously injured and cited with an improper lane change that led an overturned fuel tanker and the overnight closure of a portion of Interstate 75 Monday night through Tuesday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Around 10:39 p.m., three cars were traveling southbound on I-75 at mile marker 214. Two passenger cars were in the two left lanes: a 39-year-old North Port woman in a 2011 Mazda 6 was in the left lane and the 45-year-old woman named Nicole Lachance was driving a 2003 black Volkswagon Beetle in the center lane.
A 37-year-old Lakeland man driving a C&C Transport fuel tanker that carried 8,500 gallons of gas was traveling in the right lane.
According to FHP, Lachance tried to change into the left lane and the left side of her Beetle hit the right side of the Mazda. The Beetle then rotated clockwise, her right side hit the left side of the tanker.
The tanker overturned on its left side, eventually spilling 500 gallons of gas on the roadway.
Lachance and the tanker driver were taken to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center to be treated for serious injuries.
The crash left both northbound and southbound lanes of I-75 closed for about nine hours until Tuesday morning. Drivers were diverted through State Road 70 and U.S. 301, which caused traffic problems throughout Manatee County as drivers sought new routes.