FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - A 68-year-old tanker truck driver died and four people were injured early Sunday morning in a crash on Interstate 5, according to Washington State Patrol.
The collision happened after 2 a.m. when a 21-year-old driver lost control of his Nissan Altima and struck a barrier on southbound I-5 at South 336th Street.
According to State Patrol, a Toyota Camry struck the Nissan, which pushed the Nissan into a lane on the freeway. Inside the Toyota were three women.
A double tanker truck then hit the Toyota, went off the roadway, rolled over, punctured a sound wall and then caught on fire.
According to officials, the fire ignited a storage tanker fully loaded with gasoline on the other side of the wall.
Several crews responded to the scene to of the fire.
Southbound I-5 was completely closed and traffic was diverted as firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
“And it exploded upon impact,” said Sgt. Chris Clark of the Washington State Patrol. “The semi-truck went down over the embankment, and caught the hillside on fire.”
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News spoke with an eyewitness who was coming home from work when he saw scene of the crash.
“We just see all of these vehicles all over the road, and we see this massive explosion out of nowhere,” said Jake Britton. “Ran all the way across up here to see if people were OK, and explosion after explosion just going crazy.”
According to State Patrol, the tanker truck driver was killed at the scene.
The driver of the Nissan was injured and booked into the King County Jail.
The three women in the Toyota were injured and taken to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, and their conditions are unknown at this time.
According to State Patrol, drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the collision and an investigation will continue to determine the cause of the crash.
Three sound wall panels were damaged from the crash, and have been removed.
After 5 p.m., a fire was still burning at the crash scene.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, crews will shut down two right lanes on southbound I-5 just south of South 320th Street to remove the tanker.