Truck bursts into flames after rear-ending another semi on Interstate 70, closing Vail Pass section Wednesday

John LaConte
Vail Daily
A semi tractor-trailer that hit another semi-trailer on Wednesday caught fire upon impact, said an officer with the Vail Police Department. The incident shut down Interstate 70 in both directions Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Chris Granger/Courtesy photo

A fiery crash that shut down Interstate 70 in Vail on Wednesday involved two semi-trailers, an officer with the Vail police department has confirmed.

Sergeant Rebecca Anderson responded to the accident and said while it’s still under investigation, it appears that one semi-trailer was stopped in traffic, headed eastbound, when it was hit from behind by another semi-trailer.

“The tractor of the semi which hit the stopped semi immediately started on fire,” Anderson said. “The fire then spread to the trailer on the same semi.”

The driver of the vehicle that burst into flames, a man from California, was transported to Vail Health Hospital with injuries, Anderson said.

“I do not have any information on what injuries he suffered,” Anderson said.

The incident took place just after 6 p.m., shutting down I-70 for more than two hours while crews worked to contain the blaze. By 6:19 p.m., both the westbound and eastbound lanes of the interstate were shut down along with South Frontage Road in Vail. South Frontage Road reopened at 7:06 p.m., allowing traffic to travel east on South Frontage Road to detour around the closure. 

Emergency vehicles respond to semi tractor-trailer engulfed in flames on Interstate 70 in Vail.
James R Griffin/Courtesy photo

A single westbound lane was reopened at 7:14 p.m., and by 8:12 p.m., crews had reopened both lanes in the westbound direction.

The eastbound lanes were closed at 6:08 p.m., with one lane reopening at 8:20 p.m. The other lane was not reopened until 6:36 a.m. on Thursday.

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