Published: Sep 17, 2012 10:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 17, 2012 11:48 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fl. - Three people are in the hospital tonight after a massive car crash shut down interstate 75 southbound for several hours.

It happened in the construction zone at the Palm Beach Blvd. exit, an area troopers say has seen many accidents.

Weather certainly played a factor Monday night as there was ponding on the roadway which made it very slick.

Troopers have suggested the site managers put up barriers to separate the north and southbound lane, something they say would have prevented a crash like the one that happened here Monday.

"We dodged a bullet," says one passenger.

An overturned tractor trailer, multiple cars totaled and one over the embankment.

"Never been involved in anything like this never seen anything like this," he adds.

Troopers say the driver of this white van was heading northbound when he lost control.  He hydroplaned and crossed into oncoming traffic, causing a chain reaction crash.  One passenger says he and his driver jumped out of their car before it went over the hill.

"We thought the car was going to catch fire because we smelled smoke, we saw smoker and everything so both of us undid our seat belts and jumped out of the car," he adds.

"After the accident we came up the hill and went over to the van, we heard the lady screaming in there and we were trying to pry open the door but it wouldn't open," he says.

That's when crews got on scene.  The driver in the white van was taken to the hospital on trauma alert.  Two other drivers were transported with serious injuries.

Troopers say since construction started here to widen the interstate, they've seen a noticeable increase in crashes, many serious.

"It's unfortunate so we're doing what we can to alleviate the crashes... we have increased our presences out here we've increased our enforcement activity out here at time of heavy traffic," says Sgt. Daniel Taylor.

That tractor trailer that jack - knifed spilled 150 gallons of fuel on the side of the road.  Crews say they will be cleaning it up for the next several days.