Driver of fuel tanker that crashed on I-75 in Sarasota dies
SARASOTA -- The 71-year-old-driver of a fuel tanker that crashed into a ditch off Interstate 75 last month, halting northbound traffic for more than nine hours, has died.
Officials were notified at 12:20 a.m. Friday that Thomas Leland Grattan, of Brooksville, had died at Blake Medical Center as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
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Before dawn Aug. 27, Grattan was heading south on I-75 near Fruitville Road when he crossed the median into the northbound lanes and clipped a Ford F-150 pickup truck before skidding to a stop on its side in a ditch.
As a result of the tanker going into the ditch, an additional four-car accident occurred that resulted in no injuries.
All northbound traffic remained closed until 4:40 p.m. as crews worked to remove the remaining fuel from the damaged tanker and clean up the scene. By 7:15 p.m., all lanes were cleared.
Just five days before this crash, northbound traffic on I-75 came to stop during a Friday-night rush hour in Manatee County when the driver of a tractor-trailer lost control of his rig. The truck hit an SUV, setting it ablaze. Four other vehicles also were involved in that crash.
The driver of the SUV, Francisco Javier Martinez Herrera, 36, of Palmetto, died instantly.
That crash is still under investigation, and charges against the driver of the rig are pending the investigation's outcome.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitternote>