Truck Driver Found Dead After Fiery Crash on I-75 Bridge
A fiery truck crash on the Interstate 75 Clays Ferry Bridge claimed the life of the truck driver, whose body was found on the river bank below.
According to Authorities, the tragic crash occurred at about 6:20 a.m. on the southbound side of the bridge, and disrupted traffic for up to nine hours. Battalion Chief Mark Harvey of the Lexington Fire Department said the tractor-trailer lost control, and crashed into a barrier before the cab was engulfed in flames.
Battalion Chief Joe Best said the fire department found the truck driver on the bank of the river about 400 feet below the bridge. Best continued that it was unclear if he jumped from the truck, or if he was ejected. Best said that the cab of the truck was fully engulfed in flames, and that the tires burned off the trailer. Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison identified the body of the truck driver as Jose Alberto Vizquerra, 52, of Miami. Cornelison reported that Vizquerra’s death was caused by “blunt-force trauma,” not burns.
The trailer, which was carrying electrical equipment, was only slightly burned. However, because the cab of the truck caught fire, the tractor-trailer started leaking fluid, which began a fire below the bridge. Battalion Chief Best stated that an estimated 75-100 pounds of diesel fuel spilled into the Kentucky River because of the crash.
Luckily, the West Virginia fire departments were able to quickly distinguish the blaze. The fire department also successfully removed all of the spilled oil from the river. The tragic death and messy crash scene held up traffic on the bridge for most of the day. The accident caused major disruption on one of the area’s busiest interstate sections. All lanes were initially closed, but emergency crews eventually were able to reopen the left lane until the entire stretch could accommodate vehicles at about 3:20 p.m.
The Authorities who investigated the scene stated that it appeared that the driver of the truck lost control, hit the barrier, and engulfed into flames. These types of tractor trailer crashes should not result in fires, except in unusual crash scenarios. In this case, not only did the cab burst into flames, but it continued to leak fluid below the bridge, causing another fire below. These fires are sometimes caused by defects in the design of tractor fuel systems. The battery box location on certain tractors can provide an ignition source for diesel fuel that has a very high ignition point. The designer of the tractor fuel systems and the employing company of the victim may be at fault in this type of scenario.Victims and their families should immediately retain legal counsel after such an event so that the tractor and all evidence can be preserved and analyzed to determine if a defect contributed to the fire.