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Cause of fatal I-75 crash still unknown

MANATEE — It remains unclear why a 40-year-old Bradenton woman swerved her pickup into oncoming traffic on Interstate 75 on Saturday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

“We don’t know what caused her to lose control,” FHP Lt. Chris Miller said Wednesday afternoon at his office. “Unfortunately, that’s one of the things we may never know if it was driver error.”

At 4:35 p.m. , Paige K. Sedgley’s sport utility vehicle, which was traveling north in the left lane near Mendoza Road, veered over into southbound traffic on I-75. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and five people were taken to hospitals in the four-car crash, according to the crash report.

Initially, it appears nothing was wrong with Sedgley’s SUV, nor did it appear she was under the influence of anything.

“We are conducting a thorough investigation. Part of the investigation will be looking for mechanical defects,” Miller said.

As a standard practice, a toxicology test will be conducted on Sedgley, but the results could take weeks, Miller said.

According to reports:

n Traveling northbound, Sedgley’s Toyota Sequoia veered into the grassy median, then swerved back across the northbound lanes.

n She then overcorrected, went back across the median and collided with the first southbound vehicle at an angle.

n Then she sideswiped a second vehicle.

n She then traveled into the right southbound lane, striking a third vehicle, a Ford truck, on its left side.

n The Ford, in which the five other victims were traveling, overturned and came to rest on the west shoulder. At some point, the Ford caught on fire.

n Sedgley’s car came to rest in the right and middle lanes.

No one was injured in the first two vehicles struck, according to the reports.

Family members of the occupants inside the Ford truck declined to comment Wednesday night.

Several people inside the truck were taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, including a Sun City couple, ages 66 and 56, and the driver, a 36-year-old Tampa man.

The Tampa man’s wife, 31, and their 2-year-old daughter were sent to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

The 66-year-old man was in critical, but stable, condition late Wednesday. The driver was in fair condition, according to hospital staff at Bayfront.

Beth Burger, criminal justice reporter, can be reached at 708-7919.

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