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Troopers ID man killed in Tampa car fire


Published:   |   Updated: January 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM

A Brandon man was killed in a car fire late Tuesday night and Interstate 75 was closed near Martin Luther King Boulevard in Tampa following a multi-car pileup involving a semi-trailer.

The road reopened just before 6 a.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded to the crash on I-75, just south of MLK Boulevard and Milepost 260, around 11:30 p.m.

Upon arrival, crews found five cars and a semi were involved, and one car fully engulfed in flames.

According to the FHP, 34-year-old Alexander J. Nealy of Apollo Beach, operating the semi-trailer for Davis Transfer Co. of Carnesville, Ga., failed to stop in heavy traffic, causing a chain reaction involving five cars.

After the collision, the first car he struck — a five-door 2005 Toyota driven by Henry J. Focht, 60 — caught fire, the FHP said.

Focht died at the scene, while Nealy was not injured, the FHP said.

A driver and passenger in a 2013 Nissan four-door suffered minor injuries: 28-year-old Tara M. Gumola of Irwin, Pa., and 26-year-old Robrt Hunter of Herminie, Pa.

In addition, a 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy from Riverview suffered minor injuries. They were passengers in a 2009 Toyota SUV driven by their father, John Herbstritt, 30.

The crash remains under investigation.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.

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