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DPS investigating triple fatality crash on interstate

I-20 Wreck
Updated: May. 23, 2018 at 5:34 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Officials now say a wrong-way driver is responsible for a fiery crash that took three peoples' lives on an East Texas interstate.

The crash happened at 1 a.m. on Interstate 20, between FM 2015 and Highway 155 in Smith County.

As emergency crews arrived, a tanker and another trailer were on fire and a third trailer was buckled and flipped on its side.

"It's about taking evasive action and having it be the right evasive action and you're given just seconds to do that," says Sgt. Jean Dark, public information officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety. "Going the wrong way on the interstate, going eastbound in the westbound lanes, just a terrible crash," Dark says.

Passing motorists say they heard small explosions going off. What they may have heard is the tires of the vehicles blowing as they were burning.

An 18-wheeler driver then tried to swerve across the median to avoid the initial crash.

"Unfortunately the driver lost control and went into the median into the westbound lanes where he was then struck by an oncoming truck," Dark says.

The car driver and two of the truck drivers were killed.

"This is a highly traveled roadway. Dangerous situation. Speed, the amount of energy can decimate vehicles," Dark says.

The interstate was closed down for hours as workers tried to clear the wreckage strewn across east and westbound lanes. Westbound traffic near the crash scene was re-opened this afternoon.

The truck driver who was struck by the passenger car in the initial wreck was treated and released from the scene.

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

None of the victims' names have been released.

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