Two people died when the car they were riding in exited I-75 into a rest area south of Gainesville and collided with a parked tractor trailer on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), at around 2 p.m. the Tesla sedan took the rest stop exit on south I-75 near mile marker 382, which is at the edge of Paynes Prairie. For reasons still under investigation, it rear ended a parked tractor trailer, said FHP Lt. Pat Riordan in an email.
An FHP report stated the 2020 Freightliner tractor trailer was parked in the Paynes Prairie Rest Area parking lot when the 2015 Tesla, driven by a 66-year-old female from Lompoc, California, exited I-75 and struck the trailer. Both the Tesla driver and a 67-year-old male passenger, also from Lompoc, were pronounced deceased at the scene.
Gainesville Fire Rescue extracted the occupants from the Tesla, according to the FHP report.
A large part of the parking lot was still blocked off with caution tape several hours after the incident. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office also assisted FHP with the response to the collision.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with information from the FHP report.