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Two dead in early morning I-10 collision

A fatal crash on the interstate near mile marker 335 involving a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction killed two people about 2:30 am Friday, according to Maj. Gerald Gonzalez of the sheriff’s office.

Emile McPherson Whitney, 47, of Ocala was heading westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-10 in a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it hit head-on the 2005 Honda Odyssey driven by Nge Thay, 20, of Jacksonville, which carried eight passengers.

Two of those passengers, Ta Nu, 47, and Kaw Lay, 37, both of Jacksonville, died at the scene.

Ms. Whitney, who was wearing a seatbelt, was taken to Shands Jacksonville with critical injuries. The Odyssey’s driver, also in a seat belt, had minor injuries.

Six surviving passengers in the van, none wearing seatbelts, suffered critical injuries. All were transported from teh scene just east of SR 121 to Shands.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the collision, which closed down I-10 until shortly after 6 am, including whether the driver of the Jeep was intoxicated.

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