Fiery 6-Vehicle Crash Kills Tanker Driver and Young Family of 4by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/17/2017
Another tragic chain reaction crash has occurred as the result of a driver failing to slow down while approaching a highway traffic back up. Not did it cost the truck driver his life, but also killed a family of four and left four other motorists seriously injured.
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The accident occurred on Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 95 in North Carolina, near exit 10 in Robeson County. It was a six-vehicle wreck involving three tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles. According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, a Volvo tanker truck was traveling southbound towards a work zone where crews were painting the interstate near the South Carolina state line. The approaching tanker failed to slow down and proceeded to crash into a Dodge pickup truck, which pushed the pick-up forward into a chain-reaction crash involving two more SUVs.
The situation went from bad to worse when the tanker proceeded to crash into a second tractor-trailer and pushed it into a third commercial truck. The impact then caused the fuel tanker to ignite and erupt into flames as it careened across the median and onto the shoulder of the highway. Several vehicles immediately caught fire, as did parts of the median and shoulders of the interstate. Footage captured by drivers showed the horrific aftermath of mangled wreckage and a charred SUV amongst the blazing fires and thick black smoke.
While fire crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly, the interstate remained closed for hours as first responders and investigators did the difficult job of surveying the real damage. A total of five victims including the tanker truck driver were pronounced dead at the scene and four people were flown to hospitals with serious injuries. The two other tractor-trailer drivers were treated and released at the scene.
On Wednesday, authorities identified all five people who tragically lost their lives:
The tanker truck driver was identified as 68-year-old Michael Elliott Bricker of Myrtle Beach, SC.
The mother, father and two children in the pick-up truck were identified as Elise Spennati, 32, Cole Spennati, 25, Aila Spennati, 4, and Sianna Spennati, 1. The family resided together in Goose Creek, SC.,
Interstate 95 was closed in both directions for hours causing traffic to back-up for miles before all lanes finally reopened early Wednesday morning.