Two collisions on Interstate 40 Sunday night east of Flagstaff sent several people to the hospital, and closed eastbound lanes for about eight hours.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said officials were first notified of a crash in the eastbound lanes near Winona at 6:50 p.m. Moments later, a second crash was reported in the area with vehicles completely blocking the roadway.

The first collision involved a pickup truck, which rolled over after the driver swerved into the median to avoid a semitrailer that was merging into his lane, Graves said. The truck hit a guardrail and overturned, coming to rest upside down in the middle of the eastbound lanes. The occupants were not injured.

The semitrailer, which was not hit, reportedly stopped east of the scene, but left prior to law enforcement’s arrival, Graves said.

After the rollover, traffic was stopped in the eastbound lanes. However, another semitrailer failed to stop for the already still traffic and hit two semitrailers that were caught in the traffic, Graves said. The collision caused the semitrailers to collide with a pickup truck that was parked ahead of them, which was pushed into the median as a result, Graves said.

A bystander who was helping at the rollover collision was also hit, Graves said.

It is unknown why the driver of the second semitrailer did not stop, Graves said. Impairment was not a factor and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement is inspecting the driver and vehicle.

One of the semitrailers hit was carrying Amazon packages and the other was carrying produce, both in box trailers, Graves said. The truck that hit them was carrying industrial equipment on a flatbed. All three suffered extensive damage and caused a complete blockage of traffic going east. 

Following the crash, a total of five people were transported to Flagstaff Medical Center by Guardian Medical Transport, one was flown to FMC by DPS Air Rescue, one occupant of the pickup truck hit by the semitrailers was admitted to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, and several others were admitted to the hospital for observation; some were treated and released, Graves said.

Eastbound lanes of I-40 were reopened at about 4:15 a.m.

The reporter can be reached at cvanek@azdailysun.com or 556-2249.


Corina Vanek covers city government, city growth and development for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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