DPS: Westbound I-20 reopened after fatal wreck cleared

Source: Emily Frye/ Viewer Photo
Source: Emily Frye/ Viewer Photo
Source: Emily Frye/ Viewer Photo
Source: Emily Frye/ Viewer Photo

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Crews have removed an 18 wheeler straddling the westbound I-20 travel lanes, according to TxDOT.

DPS confirms eastbound lanes of I-20 are now open in Smith County after a multiple-fatality wreck and vehicle fire at Mile Marker 567. Westbound lanes at Mile Marker 567 between FM 2015 and SH 155 reopened as of 3:45 p.m.

Three fatalities have been confirmed at this time by DPS.

According to Highway Patrol officials, just before 1 a.m., troopers responded to a four-vehicle crash on I-20, just east of Texas Highway 155.

According to DPS, the preliminary crash investigative reports indicate that a 2000 Oldsmobile passenger car was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes on I-20. The Oldsmobile struck a 2017 Dodge Ram towing a flatbed trailer that was traveling eastbound in the inside lane. According to the preliminary crash investigation, the driver of a 2012 Peterbuilt truck tractor towing a semi-trailer took evasive action to avoid the crash. This caused the truck to cross the center median and overturn in the westbound lanes where it was struck by a truck tractor traveling west.

The driver of the Oldsmobile and both truck tractors were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Dodge Ram was treated and released at the scene.

Motorists passing by first reported large flames consuming an industrial vehicle and the area surrounding the roadway in the westbound lanes.

Small explosions were witnessed coming from the fire. Debris littered the roadway as cars attempted to pass.

A firefighter at the scene said three departments responded with 10 fire units at the crash site.

The tractor-trailer has been crushed and is being put on a tow truck, according to TxDOT. Once the debris is cleaned up, TxDOT will sweep the roadway and prepare to reopen the lanes to traffic.

The crash still remains under investigation.

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