LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The horrific 28-vehicle pile-up caused a fire so intense that it melted the roadway and left some cars so damaged that they could not be identified. Four people were killed and six others were seriously injured.
The westbound lanes of Interstate 70, a vital east-west highway linking mountains with the eastern plains, reopened Friday in Colorado. Eastbound lanes are expected to reopen on Saturday since the integrity of the bridge is intact.
"The majority of the fire was to the east of the bridge so we didn’t expect to see too much damage, but we didn’t want to come out and say that until we got a crew up there that could actually touch those girders and scrape off the smoke and make sure the integrity of the bridge was good,” said DOT chief engineer Josh Laipply.
Police say Houston truck driver 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aquilera-Mederos was heading down a hill when he slammed his semi into traffic that had slowed during a previous crash in front of him.
"He is a good guy a responsible man,” said Danilo Pedeno, Aquilera-Mederos’ father-in-law. “This is another accident that could happen to anyone else on the highway."
Police say alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors in the deadly crash and officers are investigating to determine if the driver’s brakes did indeed malfunction.
Aquilera-Mederos is charged with vehicular homicide. Police say the charge is based on interviews and evidence.
“We are all human beings and we feel for everyone involved I feel bad for everyone,” said Pedeno. “I am thankful he is alive like I said this was not intentional this is something that could have happened to anyone.”
FOX 26 News reported this story from Houston.