One driver is dead and three people were injured in a terrifying semi-truck crash that closed both lanes of I-75 north of Knoxville on Wednesday. The driver of a northbound truck carrying batteries appears to have lost control of his vehicle, crossed the median of the interstate, hit a SUV and another semi-truck southbound.
Both tractor-trailers caught fire and burned intensely, and emergency personal were unsure of the contents. The fire was so intense that the cargo manifests destroyed and the hazardous materials placards were knocked loose, leading to concerns that there may have been radioactive materials involved in the fire. As a precaution, an evacuation of people within a half-mile of the wreckage was issued for a short time.
Hazardous materials crews were eventually able to confirm that there were no radioactive materials on the trailers. Traffic jams caused by the truck accident were significant, with one man commenting that he was stuck for five hours. Fortunately, there were no secondary crashes caused by the traffic stoppage.
With such a horrific crash, it is remarkable that there was only one tragic death. When large tractor-trailers cross medians and crash head on into other traffic, they can cause enormous amounts of damage.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol was investigating the crash, but it was unclear what may have triggered the first truck to lose control and cross the median. The driver could have fallen asleep, had a medical emergency, or the truck may have suffered a mechanical failure or a tire blowout.
Truck accident investigations are often very complex and it may take weeks or months before a cause is determined. Those injured in such an accident will often need to obtain legal representation to protect their rights to compensation for their damages.
WATE.com, "Battery company identifies driver who died in I-75 crash, issues statement," Stephanie Beecken, August 28, 2014