Three people suffered injuries in a fiery wreck Thursday on the West Virginia Turnpike. Authorities say that the accident involved a head-on collision between a passenger vehicle and a FedEx truck. Preliminary investigative reports indicate that a southbound vehicle crossed over the median of the turnpike in Raleigh County, West Virginia shortly after 2:30 in the afternoon. The vehicle crossed into the path of a northbound tractor-trailer--the two vehicles collided head on, causing the FedEx semi to burst into flames.
Emergency responders arrived to find the semi ablaze after rolling over in the head-on collision. Crews say that the tractor trailer was carrying hazardous materials, including lithium. Lithium reportedly can be spontaneously flammable when exposed to water. Fire crews responding to the fiery truck wreck had to also deal with the hazardous material.
Authorities are not clear what may have caused the passenger vehicle to cross the median before the wreck. The driver of the passenger vehicle was airlifted to a hospital in Charleston, West Virginia with undisclosed injuries. Two people in the semi were also injured. The truck driver and a passenger in the rig were taken to a hospital in Beckley, West Virginia.
Authorities closed Interstate 77 for hours to attend to the accident and clear the hazardous materials after the crash. Authorities called in officials from DuPont Chemical to address the hazardous materials.
Interstate wrecks can be dangerous in any event. Motorists and truckers alike can experience serious personal injuries in a high speed crash. When a car or truck crosses into oncoming traffic, the forces involved can be horrific. Emergency personnel in the recent turnpike wreck also had to deal with hazardous materials that could have potentially exposed people in the area, including first responders, to increased risks of harm.
Source: WOWK TV, “Chemicals in Turnpike truck accident secured,” Douglas Fritz, May 3, 2013;
Charleston Daily Mail, “Three injured in Turnpike crash,” May 2, 2013