I-40 Reopens to Traffic in Crittenden County after Fiery Crash

OCTOBER 6, 2005 - Posted at 7:54 a.m. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - Authorities say a fiery crash involving at least three tractor-trailers tied up traffic in the eastbound lanes of Interstate-40 in Crittenden County for more than four hours yesterday.  State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said one person was apparently killed in the crash at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.  The accident occured about five miles west of West Memphis.

A witness at the scene said one of the trucks involved in the chain-reaction collision was a tanker carrying milk, while another was carrying frozen turkeys, which were scattered across and alongside the highway.  After the collision, one of the trucks caught fire.

A Memphis television station said the person killed was the driver of the milk tanker.  A truck driver at the scene said bystanders rescued the driver of another truck from the cab of his vehicle.  The witness said the driver was hurt badly, but was still alive.

The busy interstate is a main artery for east-west traffic across the nation.  Both of its eastbound lanes were closed for more than four hours.  Randy Ort, a spokesman for the state Highway & Transportation Department, said one eastbound lane was reopened at approximately 8:15 p.m.  This morning, all lanes are again open to traffic.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)