The Florida Highway Patrol has released its preliminary findings of an investigation into a crash that killed three people, including a state trooper, on Interstate 75 in Ocala.
Investigators say the driver of a sports utility vehicle applied brakes ``abruptly'' to avoid hitting traffic already stopped for another crash on Saturday afternoon. The SUV was then sideswiped by a pickup truck, which went into the median where 30-year-old trooper Chelsea Richard, 57-year-old John Duggan and 55-year-old George Phillips were standing.
Richard and Duggan died at the scene. Phillips died hours later.
The Ocala Star-Banner reports the investigation could take several months to complete.
The funeral for the trooper is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in Ocala. She had been with the highway patrol for nine years.