NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — A fiery, multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 44 left one driver in critical condition on the evening of Jan. 9.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to I-44 east near the 2.8-mile marker at about 7:40 p.m., where four tractor-trailers were involved in a collision that forced officials to close both eastbound lanes of traffic.
Authorities have not released details on how the crash occurred. One of the tractor-trailers caught fire, and one completely overturned. The drivers of the other two vehicles managed to pull them into a nearby weigh station and park.
The driver of the trailer tractor that caught fire reportedly had to be rescued from his burning cab and transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries that appeared to be life-threatening. Authorities have identified neither the injured nor any other drivers.
Firefighters brought the vehicle fire under control by about 9:30 p.m. The crash remains under investigation by state police.
Commentary on the Semi-Truck Accident on Interstate 44 in Missouri
I am grateful to learn that a good samaritan was able to free the injured man from his burning truck quickly and safely. Vehicle fires are very dangerous and move quickly. Often, if those involved do not act decisively, trapped occupants are not as fortunate as they were here.
This is a very complex accident. Trucking companies are no stranger to litigation and have teams of lawyers standing ready to resolve conflicts favorably. When harm from the accident affects more than property, the stakes become more significant and the adversity more severe. This accident will require highly trained professionals to navigate to ensure a just outcome is obtained.
Most concerning in this accident is the truck fire. Vehicle fires are usually caused by human error, mechanical error, and chemical imbalances–often, a combination of the three. Given the severe risks associated with vehicle fires, vehicles are manufactured with safety features designed to mitigate fire risk. However, I have found these features are often insufficient in the wake of a serious accident. My firm has spent considerable time and resources identifying causes of vehicle fires to ensure innocent victims receive just compensation for their harm.
I hope the injured in this accident can make a full and speedy recovery. The road forward will undoubtedly be challenging. May you find peace during the journey.
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