Multiple people have been reported dead and at least 10 others have been injured in a massive crash on a Colorado highway, which involved at least 28 vehicles — 24 cars and four semis.
The exact death toll in the incident has not yet been revealed by authorities, however, officials have said that there were "multiple fatalities" in the crash which occurred on Thursday and resulted in a fire on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, Colorado. Reports state that a firefighter is among the people rushed to a local hospital. The firefighter was injured when the debris, possibly a tire, exploded in the subsequent blaze.
According to police, the accident occurred at around 4.30 pm when a semitrailer travelling at high speed crashed into multiple halted cars during a traffic jam. The driver of the vehicle who survived the crash has been taken into custody. He potentially faces vehicular homicide charges, police said.
Lakewood Police Department agent Ty Countryman, on Thursday night, said: "I-70 eastbound traffic was at a standstill or close to a standstill because of a crash way up ahead… The semi was eastbound and ended up colliding with stopped cars. We're almost four or five hours into this and our crash investigation has really yet to begin — given the magnitude of the size of this crash."
The officer added that the incident could possibly end up being one of the worst in the city's history. "This is looking to be one of the worst accidents we've had here in Lakewood," Countryman said, according to ABC News.
Officials, during a press conference on Thursday evening, avoided given a specific number of casualties and the people injured because rescue workers were still working at the scene to look for survivors.
A person who was caught up in the accident, Brian Dickey, while speaking to Denver ABC affiliate KMGH said: "The back of my truck lifted up and shoved me forward, and I was hitting other cars. When I came to a stop I look in my rearview mirror and all I saw was a bunch of flames. And I jumped out of the vehicle as fast as I could. There was so much fire at the time that I couldn't even really approach any of the other vehicles to see if there were any other survivors."
At least 12 cars and three tractor-trailers were involved in the accident, however, Countryman said that the figures could change by Friday morning as investigators begin "pulling things apart". No charges have been filed in the case yet.
"It's very hard to tell, given the fire that happened when the crash took place," Countryman said. "It is true carnage there as far as the debris, what's left of cars and trucks, along with the cargoes that were in the semis and things like that."
The officer added that one of the semi-trailers was carrying wood, another was carrying gravel and the third may have been hauling mattresses. He said that the one carrying wood appears to be the one which "drove into it all."