Racine County, Wisconsin, semi crash, explosion leaves 2 dead, multiple injured; NB lanes of I-94 remain closed

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Thursday, June 20, 2019
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Two people died and two others were seriously injured when a semi crashed, exploded and ignited other vehicles on Interstate 94 in Racine County, Wisconsin.

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (WLS) -- Two people died and two others were seriously injured when a semi crashed, exploded and ignited other vehicles on Interstate 94 in Racine County, Wisconsin.

RAW VIDEO: Fiery scene moments after semi crash, explosion

Emergency crews responded to a crash involving multiple vehicles near Highway 20 in Caledonia around 11 a.m. Wednesday, WISN reports.

That stretch of interstate is under heavy constructions, which may have played a role in the five-vehicle crash.

Police said a semi was traveling southbound when it entered the construction zone. The driver made a lane change, struck a construction barrier, then over-corrected and struck the median wall that separates northbound and southbound lanes before bursting into flame. The impact shoved the median wall into the northbound lanes, police said.

WATCH: Authorities give update on fiery, deadly semi crash

As a result of that median moving, three passenger vehicles collided with the wall and each other, according to the Racine County Sheriff's Office. As a result of that crash, the driver of a semi traveling northbound made a move to avoid the crash, turned into an eastern ditch lane, went off the road and burst into flame.

Police said both semi drivers died. At the moment police believe they were the sole occupants of each truck, but have not officially confirmed that.

RAW VIDEO: Traffic camera shows fiery fatal semi crash

Of the three passenger vehicles, two drivers sustained serious injuries, including burns and broken bones, and were taken to local hospitals for treatment, police said. The third driver walked away from the crash with no injuries.

Southbound lanes on I-41/I-94 at Ryan Road reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Northbound lanes from Highway 20 to Highway G remain closed and will remain closed overnight as crews make repairs to the pavement that was damaged by fire. Crews hope to have the repairs finished before the morning rush.

Witnesses said they heard what they described as an explosion and seeing a mushroom cloud of smoke. One of the trucks hung off the side of the expressway.

RAW VIDEO: Semi on fire dangles from overpass

"I was kind of scared that it was gonna blow up or something, and there was a lot of debris flying everywhere," said Katelyn Planka, witness.

"There was a lot of crackling and popping at first and as we sat there, maybe three or four minutes later, we heard quite a few bangs as if something was blowing," Planka added.

The Racine County Sheriff's Office said the highway has been under heavy construction and many crashes have occurred. Police are asking commuters to slow down, be aware of their surroundings and remove distractions as they travel through the construction zones.

The construction zone where the crash occurred has a modified speed limit of 60 mph.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.