Man dies when SUV flips over on I-75


Sun staff writer
June 04. 2005 6:01AM

Spring Hill man died and his wife was critically injured in a single-vehicle crash late Thursday after the driver lost control of the SUV and it flipped over four times on Interstate 75 south of Gainesville, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Victor Vansandt, 34, died of his injuries at Shands at the University of Florida on Friday morning and his wife, Stacy J. Vansandt, 31, remained in critical condition Friday following the accident, which occurred at 11:30 p.m. Thursday two miles south of the Williston Road exit on I-75, according to the FHP.

The couples' dark green Ford Explorer lay on its side in the southbound center and inside lanes of the interstate surrounded by shattered glass and paper being blown across the interstate by northbound traffic. Troopers gathered up checkbooks, a brown purse, files and a Spiderman doll thrown from the SUV onto the road. Blue latex gloves left behind by EMS crews littered the scene.

FHP Cpl. J.T. Gilcher said Stacy Vansandt was driving the SUV when she either fell asleep at the wheel or attempted to exit at the rest stop and made a last-minute decision to veer back onto the interstate and lost control of the Explorer. The SUV barreled into the right grassy shoulder that separates the rest stop exit ramp and the interstate, Gilcher said. Fresh tire marks traced the wild path the SUV took through the grass and back onto the interstate.

Victor Vansandt was ejected onto the right shoulder when the SUV traveled back onto the interstate, Gilcher said. When the vehicle hit the pavement, the Explorer spiraled out of control and flipped over several times, ejecting Stacy Vansandt in the middle of the inside lane, Gilcher said. The SUV came to a rest on its right side about 180 feet from where it first sped through the grass, Gilcher said. Neither person was wearing a seat belt, according to the FHP.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident and no one else was injured, Gilcher said. Traffic was light at the time of the accident, he added.

Troopers closed nearly 10 miles of I-75 for almost two hours to investigate the crash, Gilcher said. A steady stream of tractor-trailers and cars were forced to exit onto Williston Road and use SW 13th Street as a detour to get back onto the interstate in Micanopy. The southbound exit ramp from Williston Road was blocked off by Alachua County sheriff's deputies' patrol cars until about 1:45 a.m. Friday when all three southbound lanes were reopened.

The crash is still under investigation by the FHP.