Authorities shut down a major interstate just outside of Denver, Colorado on Thursday to investigate a deadly multi-vehicle car accident. The accident occurred on Interstate 70 and involved 24 cars and 4 semi-trucks. The collision triggered a massive fire, which prevented investigators from reaching the scene to identify victims. Early reports indicate that at least four people lost their lives in the accident and at least six people are receiving treatment for critical injuries at local hospitals.
How Did the Truck Accident Happen?
The accident occurred after a runaway truck slammed into rush hour traffic that was almost at a complete stop. The semi was eastbound at approximately 4:50 PM, according to Ty Countryman from the Lakewood Police Department. Countryman reported that the driver, a 23-year-old man with a truck license from Texas, lost control of his flatbed truck while hauling lumber. The driver has been charged with vehicular homicide and will appear in court on Saturday afternoon.
What Happened at the Scene of the Accident
The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries and, according to his brother, lost brake function while driving downhill. Witnesses reported multiple explosions followed by a large plume of smoke which rose from the site of the 28-vehicle accidents. Josh McCutchen was waiting in traffic at the time and livestreaming to YouTube when he accidentally captured the truck barreling past his vehicle moments before the crash. The Lakewood Police Department has not yet confirmed if a mechanical issue caused the driver to lose control of his truck.
David Barton was panhandling near the scene and was among some of the first to help victims of the crash. "It just caught on fire. And I just dropped my sign, took off running," Barton said. "As soon as I [saw] flames, I headed under the bridge, grabbed three or four people out of a couple cars."
Josh Laipply, a chief engineer at the Colorado Department of Transportation, commented that the accident’s fire was so intense that it melted aluminum and burned as hot as 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Transportation officials are still investigating the structural integrity of a nearby bridge to ensure it is safe to use after sustaining damage from the accident.
"If the driver's out of control, that's certainly a big concern that we have. The question is, why is he out of control?" Countryman said to confirm that authorities are investigating the root cause of the accident.
The Lakewood truck accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP are closely following this story. If you or a loved one was involved in this accident, call us right now at (888) 493-1629.