Two confirmed dead in fiery crash
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” Two people were killed and an 11-mile section of Interstate 70 was closed after a semi-truck carrying chemicals crashed and exploded Wednesday, crippling an overpass in this western Colorado city.
The Mesa County coroner’s office said two bodies were recovered but declined to say whether they were found in the wreckage. The victims’ names were not immediately released.
One eastbound lane of I-70 was reopened by 12:30 p.m., nearly 10 hours after the crash. Other traffic was being rerouted on side roads. About 19,000 vehicles a day use the interstate in Grand Junction, 200 miles west of Denver.
The truck was carrying 55-gallon drums of sodium hypochlorite, a form of bleach, along with commercial cleaning liquids and industrial hardware, police said.
The chemicals posed no danger to the public or cleanup crews, police said.
The truck was westbound when it crashed at 2:45 a.m. It careened to the right, took out 75 feet of guardrail, smashed into the support column and exploded, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacy Stegman said.
State highway engineers were expected to arrive later Wednesday to assess the damage and determine when the interstate can be reopened.
The bridge had six support columns, and the crash “essentially took out of one of the legs,” Stegman said.
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