SUV hits rig carrying munitions, sets off explosion

| Monday, December 15, 2003

One woman was killed Dec 10 after the SUV she was driving crossed the median of Florida's Turnpike west of Orlando and hit a truck carrying munitions for the military, causing a large explosion, officials said.

Kim Miller, spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol, told CNN two other young women inside the Ford Explorer were critically injured and taken to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The truck was part of a convoy of vehicles that was hired by the military to transport the material to Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton, Miller said.

The driver of the truck carrying the munitions escaped harm, Miller said, despite the crash near Clermont, which exploded the rig's gas tank and set off three containers of blasting caps.

Aerial video from local news stations showed debris showered over a wide area of the highway and median, and showed the melted front end of the hired truck and its damaged trailer.

Authorities shut down the northbound and southbound lanes of the turnpike for a 15-mile stretch from State Route 50 near Orlando to U.S. 27 in Lake County.

Officials don't know what caused the SUV to cross the median, Miller said.