Driver dies in fiery tractor-trailer fire on I-40

Posted April 27, 2009

— The driver of a tractor-trailer died after his vehicle struck a guard rail on Interstate 40, near Gorman Street, and caught on fire late Monday morning, Raleigh police said.

Sky 5: Truck fire on I-40 Sky 5: Truck fire on I-40

According to a wreck report, the 1993 Ford tractor-trailer was in the center lane of westbound lane and veered to the right, running onto the shoulder and hitting the guardrail. The truck then caught fire, and the driver was trapped in the cab and died in the fire, Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

Witnesses told police that the driver, whose name hasn't been released, appeared to swerve to avoid stopped traffic.

The truck was going 40 mph at the time of impact and left tire impressions 418 feet long, according to the wreck report.

Thick black smoke billowed from the fire and could be seen for miles around.

Traffic backed up as all three westbound lanes were closed at mile marker 296 as emergency personnel worked to control and clear a tractor-trailer fire near Gorman Street. One lane was reopened to traffic around 2 p.m., and the other two were reopened shortly after 4:30 p.m.

Eastbound traffic was congested from mile marker 290 as onlookers slowed to look at the scene, police said.


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  • mom2threecld Apr 28, 2009

    prayers to the family. this man avoided hitting other cars and saved lives and lost his own. this is just a true accident. i do not understand some of these comments. some people think they have all the answers if it were them. time4real, until you are in a sitution, you never know what you will or can do. i feel quite certain if he could've gotten out he would've. i seriously doubt he chose to burn to death in that truck. some of the readers really need to take a critical thinkng class and learn to see past the narrow thinking tunnel vision they have.

  • gpcherokee Apr 28, 2009

    This is why I always carry a few fire extinguishers in my truck!

  • patriot4liberty Apr 28, 2009

    I feel for the family of the driver. What a horrible way to lose someone. (((((prayers)))))

  • Timbo Apr 28, 2009

    Awful. Raleigh should think about putting flashing lights to warn of traffic jams along that stretch of road.

    What was also unusual that day was that there was a trooper in an unmarked car working east and westbound I-40 around the Wade Avenue extension. They usually only work the east bound.

    I notice that whenever this happens during rush hour, traffic gets stupid from folks hitting the brakes and rubber necking when a driver is pulled. This causes a wave effect where traffic backs up for miles and stops in some cases.

    I recall a while back, a Morrisville doughnut eaters would occasionally sit up on one the airport exits during afternoon rush hour and cause delays all the way back to Durham. Just his presence would cause stupid driving.

  • chance Apr 27, 2009

    Wow! Just Wow! I can't believe some of you people. This is a terrible tradegy. I'm sure this man would have made a better attempt to avoid this accident and dying in such a horrific manner had he known it would have delayed your incompassionate backsides! I'm sure he would have also made a better attempt to get out of the burning truck and not die had he known his attempt would be called into question and minimalized.

    My heart goes out to his family. And if his family is reading any of the trash talk that is being spewed, please disregard it for those people who wrote it do not deserve your time. Please hold in your hearts a truly happy memory, a smile, a sparkle of the eyes, a silly idiosyncrasy that you will always remember with a grin and a warm heart.

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Apr 27, 2009

    So sad. My prayers for him and his family.

  • Skywatch_NC Apr 27, 2009

    This man was from Roxboro and he was 70 yrs old.

    How do you know that when the article doesn't say his hometown and/or age?

  • Mid-Rd Apr 27, 2009

    Thoughts are with them....

    Unbelieve some people are so insensitive to think friends and family don't read these postings....

  • xchief661 Apr 27, 2009

    Still watching for an update if the road is clear or not. Bless his heart, he must have been knocked out or something that he couldn't get out.To the family you are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

  • vshull58 Apr 27, 2009

    This wonderful man and his family are in pain and just need your prayers and kind word. I speak for the family, he was a truck driver and he was not hauling anything illegal as implied by some of the one who posted comments. Yes I do know this, because I have known this man and his wife, two grown children and a wonderful grand daughter. Please remember them.