The Highway Patrol said a preliminary investigation reveals the driver of a tanker was entering onto I-95 traveling northbound when he lost control of the truck near mile marker 97.
Troopers believe speed may have been a factor in the crash that resulted in the tanker rolling over, rupturing and catching fire at about 10:16 a.m.
The driver, Carroll R. Langston, 61, of Clayton, was flown from Johnston Memorial Hospital to the UNC Jaycee Burn Center for treatment. He remains in critical condition.
The state Highway Patrol said the tanker was registered to Daughtridge Oil Company of Rocky Mount. Officials allowed the diesel fuel fire to burn itself out.
Diane Loy was driving on the Highway 70 overpass when the tanker crashed below her.
"The heat -- you could just feel the heat, and I had my windows up," she said.
The DOT said northbound lanes will remain closed so crews can mill and resurface a section of roadway that was damaged during the wreck. Southbound lanes reopened around 1 p.m. Monday.
The DOT said motorists should expect heavy delays and proceed with caution through the closed area. Those traveling north on I-95 should take Exit 97 and cross over U.S. 70-A to return to I-95 North. Another option is to take Highway 301, which runs parallel to 95.
The Highway Patrol said its investigation into the wreck is ongoing.
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