One Person Killed in Fiery I-40 Wreck
Posted March 26, 1997
RALEIGH — One person as killed Wednesday in a fiery collision on Interstate 40 in Raleigh that delayed westbound traffic for hours.
A car somehow was sandwiched in between a dump truck and a tractor trailer on I-40 just before its junction with I-440 on the east side of Raleigh. The car was crushed in the 8 a.m. collision and caught fire, which spread to the cab of the tractor trailer.
The driver of the car, Martha Asebes, 31, of Clayton, was killed. Drivers of the dump truck and tractor trailer were not seriously injured.
When two Division of Motor Vehicles officers arrived on the scene minutes after the wreck, flames were shooting up to treetops.
"The fire was too hot to get too close to the vehicles," said state DMV Sgt. Marc Nichols. "There was one car pinned under the tractor trailer, the tractor trailer being on fire. It spread into the passenger vehicle that was lodged underneath it. There's not a whole lot you can do."
As crews worked to clear the accident from the westbound lanes, one car rear-ended another in the eastbound lanes, a result of rubber-necking, authorities say.
Both accident send a message to motorists.
"Things develop very quickly from one lane to the other, from one second to the other," said state Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Hunter. "The only thing that can help on the interstate is that you reduce your speed and increase following distance."