Three different crashes on I-95, in Johnston County, N.C., led to the shutdown of a portion of the highway, as well as an evacuation of area homes and businesses.
On Wednesday afternoon, at approximately, 1 p.m., near the 90-mile mark in the southbound direction of the highway, a tractor trailer ran off the road and smashed into a guardrail. The driver of the truck was trapped inside the cab of the truck and had to be cut out of the vehicle by emergency responders.
Approximately 30 minutes after that crash, and just five miles away at the 95-mile mark, an RV slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer, which was reportedly carrying hazardous material. Police believe that the slowdown of traffic caused by commuters looking at the first accident contributed to the crash. The impact of the crash caused both vehicles to burst into flames.
Due to the multiple dangerous chemicals the truck was transporting, authorities, ordered anyone within a three-mile radius to shelter in place. Several area schools were set up as evacuation centers for those who needed to get inside.
The flames from the fire were so strong, they burned holes into the road, and crews are currently working to repair the damage. Some people who were outside and exposed to the chemical fumes were taken to area hospitals for evaluation and tests. One victim said the brown smoke from the fire made him feel nauseous and he said his throat felt as if it was closing up.
Shortly after the second crash, at the 88-mile marker, a tractor-trailer rear-ended into an RV. The impact caused the driver of the RV to lose control of the vehicle and it was hit by another tractor trailer. The second tractor-trailer rear-ended a car, which then rear-ended a third tractor-trailer.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol report that two people in the RV died at the scene, and a third victim from the RV was transported to a local hospital and is listed in serious condition. A victim in one of the tractor trailers is also listed in serious condition. A police spokesperson said that all other injuries sustained from the crash are non-life-threatening.
Our thoughts are with all the victims and their families in these tragic crashes. The injured victims in these multiple crashes likely face weeks – if not months – of recovery and rehab and should seek the advice of a North Carolina truck accident attorney to see what legal recourse they may have for their pain and loss.