Semi driver killed in fiery I-5 crash near Lewis-McChord

DUPONT, Wash. - A semi truck driver was killed Monday morning in a fiery crash caused by a pickup that veered into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Washington State Patrol reports.

All southbound lanes of the freeway were blocked in the aftermath of the collision, near the Mounts Road interchange, as twisted metal, smashed vehicles and debris from the fire covered the roadway at the site. One lane was reopened at 12:15 p.m.

Trooper Guy Gill said the accident was caused when a pickup towing a U-Haul trailer veered from the northbound lanes of the freeway and crossed the median into the southbound lanes, smashing into an oncoming box truck.

The box truck spun out in the roadway and was hit by a southbound semi truck. The box truck and the semi both burst into the flames from the force of the impact.

The occupants of the box truck were somehow able to escape, but the semi driver was killed in the crash. Both vehicles continued to burn for some time after the collision.

The driver of the pickup truck sustained serious injuries and was taken to Madigan Army Hospital. Gill says he did not appear to be impaired and why he crossed the median remains under investigation.

Gill said the box truck and the semi tractor were "unrecognizable" after they were destroyed by fire in the crash. The semi trailer and its cargo also burned profusely, and continued to smolder for hours after the collision.

Transportation Department webcams in the area showed dramatic footage of fire and smoke billowing from multiple spots in the roadway near the Mounts Road interchange in the moments after the 10:15 a.m. crash.

More than 20 emergency vehicles responded to the crash site with lights flashing.

The crash continued to block southbound traffic for 13 miles well into Monday evening. Crews finally opened the interstate just before 9 p.m.