Photographs by Rick McFarland
Little Rock firefighters and state police work the scene of an accident Wednesday afternoon involving two 18-wheelers that both caught fire on Interstate 440 eastbound just before the bridge over the Arkansas River in Little Rock.
Originally published March 19, 2014 at 02:27p.m., updated March 19, 2014 at 04:00p.m.
At least one person has died and traffic remains stalled in both directions along Interstate 440 in Little Rock after a three-vehicle accident caused two 18-wheelers to catch fire Wednesday afternoon, according to state police.
Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said the accident occurred about 2 p.m. in the eastbound lanes near the Fourche Dam Pike exit. The eastbound lanes were blocked completely by the accident scene, and traffic was stalled in both directions for at least two hours.
At the center of the fiery scene were two 18-wheelers, one of which had significant fire damage, and an Impala, according to an Arkansas Online reporter on the scene.
The accident remains under investigation, but based on initial information, investigators believe it occurred when the Impala went into reverse on the highway and hit a Wal-Mart truck. The Wal-Mart truck jackknifed on impact and burst into flames as it collided with the second 18-wheeler, according to state police.
Police confirmed there was at least one fatality in the Wal-Mart vehicle. The woman who was driving the Impala was taken to UAMS Medical Center with unspecified injuries. Sadler said in a statement that a third person also was injured and transported from the scene. The conditions of the injured were not immediately known.
Police on the scene said the eastbound highway is not expected to reopen until sometime this evening at the earliest, and Sadler said traffic is being diverted through downtown Little Rock along Interstate 30. The westbound highway is open, but traffic is moving slowly, Sadler said.
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.