LARAMIE, Wyoming — One person has been confirmed dead in a crash that resulted in a fiery multiple vehicle pile-up Monday morning that shut down Interstate 80 for the second time in less than five days.
The wreckage involved more than 50 vehicles and occurred in Southeast Wyoming about 18 miles west of Laramie, stretching for a half mile or more.
Dense snow and light slush conditions contributed to the crash. Two commercial trucks collided at about 8 a.m., causing one truck to jackknife in both westbound lanes, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Multiple vehicles crashed into the jackknifed truck and one another, one of which was a 22,000-gallon tanker of hazardous material that sparked a large fire, taking several hours to extinguish and hampering clean-up and investigation efforts.
16 injured were treated at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, officials say.
As of the afternoon, some vehicles that veered off the road but were relatively undamaged have been towed away, as well as numerous others which were damaged in the crash.
Heavy equipment will begin pulling apart some of the most severely damaged vehicles, and some troopers say they are worried that there may be more victims in the wreckage.
Three major vehicle pileups between Cheyenne and Laramie closed Interstate 80 last Thursday. There were no fatalities, but at least 25 people were hospitalized for injuries. That closure lasted until Saturday.
Troopers were still investigating last week’s wrecks, Patrol Lt. Tim Romig told the Casper Star Tribune Monday. “It could take several weeks for us to get to where we’re almost done with the investigation,” Romig said.
But he said the primary cause was vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions.
A long stretch of Interstate 80 will remain closed Monday evening. The closure is now expected to stretch into Tuesday and possibly longer, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
Officials ask that motorists waiting at the closed gates be patient and check www.wyoroad.info or call 1-888-WYO-ROAD for updates on when the interstate will reopen.