SARASOTA — A 63-year-old man was killed in a crash that temporarily closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 near Venice late Saturday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Michael Stephen Thorne, of North Port, was pronounced dead on scene after the crash near River Road at 8:54 p.m. Saturday.
According to a report, an FHP trooper was investigating a single-vehicle crash into a guardrail involving Thorne, a possible DUI driver. A marked Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office vehicle — with its emergency lights on — had blocked the northbound inside lane to provide a safer area for troopers investigating.
FHP officials said the trooper investigating the single-vehicle crash tried to relocate Thorne to the paved shoulder as a safer place to conduct field-sobrierty tests. Another vehicle, a car hauler driven by a 37-year-old Tampa man, was traveling north on I-75 in the center lane and did not move over into the outside right lane as he approached the area of the Sarasota deputy, the report said.
At the same time, the FHP trooper was attempting to cross the northbound lanes toward the paved shoulder in a marked FHP vehicle with Thorne in the right rear seat.
According to FHP officials, that’s when the FHP trooper pulled out in front of the car hauler and, as a result, the front of the car hauler struck the right rear of the trooper’s vehicle. The FHP vehicle came to a final rest within the inside paved median shoulder facing north. The car hauler came to rest within the grass median facing northwest.
Thorne was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report. The FHP trooper was transported to Venice Regional Bayfront Health. The car hauler driver was not injured.According to FHP, all lanes reopened at 6:26 a.m. Sunday.
The investigation is ongoing, authorities said.