Regular readers of our Raleigh personal injury law blog know that we have often touched on the dangers posed to motorists by the massive tractor-trailers that roar along on our interstate highways. We have rarely seen the type of devastation witnessed earlier this week in a crash near Denver in which an out-of-control 18-wheeler sped down a hill and slammed into a traffic jam, starting a chain-reaction inferno on an interstate.
Four people were killed in the violent truck accident that involved 24 cars and 4 tractor-trailers. Six people were hospitalized. The 23-year-old truck driver was later arrested on a vehicular homicide charge, officials said.
A police spokesman in Lakewood, Colorado, the Denver suburb where the wrecks occurred, called it “unbelievable.” A news report described it this way: “The gruesome aftermath left a blazing, apocalyptic stretch of highway in Lakewood, with towering orange flames belching columns of black smoke.”
Officials said an earlier crash set the stage for nightmare wreckage. That initial collision brought traffic to a stop before the out-of-control big rig crashed into the halted traffic.
A law enforcement spokesperson said there were no indications that alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash.
A man who was in the traffic jam captured the big rig roaring by on his dashcam. “All the cars were stopped,” he said. “And then this semi-truck . . . sped by, going it must have been over 60 miles per hour, 80 miles per hour, out of control down the emergency lane.”
The blaze from the raging fire destroyed the surrounding pavement, officials said.
Let us hope that the injured recover fully and that investigators will soon pinpoint the cause of the tragedy.