October 18, 2006-- Posted at 11:00 pm
FORREST CITY-- An accident involving two big rigs on Interstate 40 killed one person and prompted state police to shut down part of the highway near Forrest City.
A tractor-trailer rig struck the rear of another 18-wheeler that was pulling onto the highway from a rest area and both trucks caught fire.
An otherwise quiet morning turned out to be a challenge for the Arkansas State Police.
"Approximately 6:42 this morning I received a call of an accident on I-40 at the 242 mile marker," Cpl. Kelvin Stewart of Arkansas State Police says.
A fiery crash along Interstate 40 caused a panic for morning commuters...
"We arrived on the scene and their were two tractor trailers that were fully engulfed. We had the whole west bound traffic shutdown probably for three to four hours," Stewart says.
The driver of one of those trucks told police he was pulling out of a rest stop and trying to get up to speed when he was struck from behind by a Roadway Express truck.
It was an accident that forced evacuations at nearby schools and put a local hospital on lock down... Until authorities could determine the source of a fire that was difficult to contain.
"Neither one was carrying hazardous materials. I believe one truck had on foam mattress material which was on fire and somewhat difficult to put out," Stewart says.
Firefighters finally put out the blaze after several hours of work.
Now, a steady stream of traffic is flowing through the area where only a pile of rubble remains.
It took the fire department about three hours to get the fire under control.