ST. LOUIS — One person was killed and three others injured in a fiery crash involving a big rig Tuesday morning on Interstate 64.
The accident occurred around 8:20 a.m. on I-64 east, just west of I-270. A Honda Accord caught on fire after being rear-ended during a collision with a tractor-trailer. Authorities said the big rig simply couldn't stop in time.
Five other vehicles were involved in the accident. Flames and smoke could be seen in the area of the crash.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Dallas Thompson said it could have even been worse.
"That time of morning there was only six vehicles involved, there could have been 15 to 20 involved," he said.
Three people, including an infant, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. One man, the driver of the Accord, died as a result of the accident. The driver was identified only as a man in his 30s.
Firefighters rushed to the scene of the fatal accident. They extinguished the fire but there was heavy damage to the truck's cab and the vehicle it struck. Other vehicles involved in the crash also have major damage.
“They hit hard enough to where the motor of the tractor-trailer was actually in the back seat of the vehicle that was in front of it,” said West County EMS and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Eric Heimos.
Accident reconstruction crews were on the scene. They were able to finish their survey around 12:15 p.m. The highway reopened to traffic shortly after their work was complete.
Vikas Dixit of Ballwin was involved in the accident. He said his car was hit several times, although he did not seek medical treatment.
“I heard some braking sound and then a car hit me from behind, and then my car went onto the side of the road, and then I got hit by a couple more cars,” he said.
The driver of the tractor-trailer said he did all he could to try and stop. The trucking company is Diamondback Service Inc. out of Kanas City. An attorney for the company said they had no comment.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said it appears the truck driver did nothing wrong.
Authorities said it was looking for drivers of two vehicles who were involved in the crash. They drove off from the scene.
Witnesses at the scene claimed another vehicle was swerving through lanes and that might have caused the Accord to cut off the semi-truck. At this point, though, authorities have not confirmed that. At present, they suspect the Accord cut off the big rig driver just to make a quick exit onto I-270.
“When it cut the lane in front of the tractor-trailer, the tractor-trailer couldn’t stop and struck the vehicle, and that kind of caused a chain reaction,” Trooper Thompson said.