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Arizona Department of Public Safety says driver fatigue apparent factor in this morning’s fiery crash on Interstate 40

The interstate was closed in both directions for more than four hours after collision

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 -

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Arizona Department of Public Safety officers are investigating a two vehicle collision that involved commercial tractor-trailer rigs and occurred on January 13, 2010, at approximately 2:57 a.m. on I-40 eastbound, at milepost 155 about 9 miles west of Williams.

The first commercial vehicle, owned by Schneider National Inc., was traveling westbound up a hill at a speed that investigators believe was well below the posted 75 mph speed limit. This is common in the area due to the steep grade of the hill. The second commercial vehicle, owned by an unknown independent company, was also westbound coming up the hill behind the Schneider truck. Investigators believe this second vehicle was traveling at a significantly higher speed and rear-ended the first truck.

The resulting impact ruptured the fuel tanks on the second tractor-trailer and ignited a fire which consumed the second tractor-trailer as well as the trailer of the first vehicle. The Schneider National trailer contained a load of hazardous materials which included lighter fluid and 300 pounds of an unknown corrosive material.

Hazardous Materials Technicians from DPS and the Flagstaff Fire Department responded to the scene. At that point, I-40 was closed in both directions. At 7:19 a.m. I-40 was reopened to westbound traffic after the fire had been extinguished and experts on scene determined the hazardous materials did not pose a threat to air quality.

The driver and co-driver of the first vehicle were not injured in the collision. The driver and co-driver of the second vehicle were both transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center where they were treated for non life threatening injuries.

At 11:00 a.m., all lanes of I-40 were re-opened.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.