FHP: Florida driver commits suicide, causes 8-hour interstate closure

Posted at 7:17 AM, Aug 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 07:03:26-04

A suicide over the weekend on a Florida interstate in the Tampa area caused a three-vehicle crash.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers responded to the wreck on northbound Interstate 275, just north of the 54th Avenue North exits, around midnight Sunday.

During their investigation, the troopers discovered one of the drivers dead of a gunshot wound.

At 3:30 a.m. Sunday, FHP requested the St. Petersburg Police Department's assistance in their investigation.

St. Petersburg police officers responded and were able to determine that the deceased driver, Leonard De La Garza, Jr., 56, of Largo, Fla., had committed suicide with a handgun while driving northbound on I-275.

The driver's actions caused his car to swerve into the path of two other northbound cars. No one else involved in the accident received any serious injuries, according to officials.

All northbound lanes on I-275 near 62nd Ave. North were closed for about eight hours due to the crash.