Fatigue a factor in fiery crash on Interstate 40

Accident closes both lanes for more than four hours

Photo/Sue Atkinson
Travel was halted on Interstate 40 for more than four hours.

Photo/Sue Atkinson Travel was halted on Interstate 40 for more than four hours.

WILLIAMS - Arizona Department of Public Safety officers are investigating a two vehicle collision that involved commercial tractor-trailer rigs and occurred on today at approximately 2:57 a.m. on Interstate 40 eastbound, at milepost 155 about five miles west of Williams.

The first commercial vehicle was traveling eastbound up a hill at a speed that investigators believe was well below the posted 75 mph speed limit. This is common in the area due to the steep grade of the hill. The second commercial vehicle, owned by an unknown independent company, was also eastbound coming up the hill behind the first truck. Investigators believe this second vehicle was traveling at a significantly higher speed and rear-ended the first truck.

The resulting impact ruptured the fuel tanks on the second tractor-trailer and ignited a fire, which consumed the second tractor-trailer as well as the trailer of the first vehicle. DPS says driver fatigue apparent factor in this morning's fiery crash on I-40. The interstate was closed in both directions for more than four hours after collision

Hazardous Materials Technicians from DPS and the Flagstaff Fire Department responded to the scene. At that point, I-40 was closed in both directions. At 7:19 a.m. I-40 was reopened to westbound traffic after the fire had been extinguished and experts on scene determined the hazardous materials did not pose a threat to air quality.

The driver and co-driver of the first vehicle were not injured in the collision. The driver and co-driver of the second vehicle were both transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

At 11 a.m., all lanes of I-40 were re-opened.

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