Cause of crash released that involved tractor-trailer, two other vehicles on I-40

Posted August 6, 2020 6:19 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2020 4:21 p.m. EDT

— A fiery crash involving a tractor-trailer and two other vehicles backed up traffic on Interstate 40 in Orange and Durham counties on Thursday evening.

Troopers with the State Highway Patrol said there were several different crashes in the area, and video from the scene showed at least nine other vehicles somewhat damaged nearby.

The crashes happened between exits 270 and 273 on I-40 around 5:30 p.m., Durham police said. The tractor-trailer crash and fire happened under the bridge on Old Chapel Hill Road. Two other vehicles were involved in that crash.

Durham police said Friday afternoon that crash happened when a vehicle went out of control due to heavy rain and spun around. It collided with the tractor-trailer and another vehicle.

Other crashes happened after that one, bunching up vehicles at a couple of other spots on I-40. Police said most of those were fender benders. There were no life-threatening injuries.

All westbound lanes were closed, and two eastbound lanes were closed for cleanup.

"We’ve been sitting in traffic for an hour and half, stand-still traffic, and we are just trying to get to our destination, and it is impossible," said Shaunda Williams.

“We had to literally drive through the woods to get to a street," said Shani Hammock.

After 7 p.m., traffic in the westbound lanes was allowed to move along the shoulder. Regular traffic resumed for all lanes around 9 p.m.

Durham police said there were no major injuries in the crash involving the tractor-trailer. Several people in other crashes were taken to area hospitals for treatment of injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

The tractor-trailer is registered to Geographic Transport in Gastonia, which carries potatoes and vegetables, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The owner of the company said they were aware of the crash. He said there was at least one driver in the tractor-trailer, and he was still trying to gather information on the crash.

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