Phoenix Semi-Truck Crash

An explosion at 5 AM marked the start of Thursday’s rush hour in Phoenix on 2/28/2013 after a semi-truck crashed into the median barrier, killing its 31-year-old driver.

The truck accident happened on Interstate 10 at the Broadway Road curve. Other drivers witnessed the crash and subsequent explosion of the truck. This was followed by a collision with the rig’s trailer by another car. That driver was injured and transported to the hospital from the scene. The trailer caught fire and was lying on its side burning, while blocking all eastbound lanes of traffic.

The truck itself crossed the concrete median barrier and was obstructing the westbound side of the freeway. Arizona Department of Transportation said that the crash ejected several large pieces of debris across the westbound lanes, damaging two cars. Multiple drivers on that side of the freeway incurred minor injuries. Both sides of Interstate 10 past Tempe were closed for over five hours while crews attended to the scene.

There was a huge amount of traffic that was backed up on the interstate highway during the busy rush hour. The closure caused backups on US 60, the 101, the 202 as well as local streets due to the overflow coming off of Interstate 10. Some commuters reported to work more than two hours late.

The driver of the semi-truck, was killed in the crash. Records show that he had multiple equipment violations in roadside inspections and missing documentation in prior stops. He was driving for Specialty Distribution, an Oklahoma company that has only been in business since October. That company is too new for its inspection records to be on file in the federal database with the Department of Transportation.

Interstate 10 in the Phoenix area has been closed at least three times in the last couple of weeks due to accidents involving tractor-trailer rigs. This has prompted speculation that efforts might be revived to restrict semi-trucks to one lane only in Arizona, as is done in California.