Denver7 | Traffic


1 person killed in crash, tanker fire on I-70 west of Denver

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said the tanker was fully engulfed in flames and at least one other vehicle was involved in the crash that shut down I-70 west of Denver for several hours.
Posted: 9:55 AM, May 16, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-17 00:53:58-04
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May 16 2024 I-70 fiery crash near Morrison
May 16 2024 I-70 fiery crash near Morrison

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Portions of Interstate 70 west of Denver have reopened to traffic following a deadly crash and tanker fire that shut down the interstate for several hours.

One person was killed and another one was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, law enforcement sources confirmed to Denver7.

The crash was reported around 9:28 a.m. Thursday. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) said first responders arrived on the scene to find the tanker truck fully engulfed in flames.

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A large plume of smoke could be seen for miles but as of around 10:30 a.m., firefighters were able to extinguish the majority of the fire. The JCSO said multiple fire departments responded to the scene and put out several small fires. A HAZMAT team also responded to the crash area.

The CSP in Golden said preliminary information indicated the semi-truck overheated and was parked on the right shoulder when another driver crashed into the back of the trailer, causing about 3,000 gallons of fuel to spill onto the road.

Fuel from the tanker spilled into a culvert and into the eastbound I-70 lanes, according to CSP. Crews were checking the scene for fire damage.

A Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) official told Denver7 the main concern now was that the culvert, which runs underneath the interstate and carries water. CDOT personnel was working to determine if the culvert was damaged and if it needed repairs or to be replaced, the official said.

The City of Lakewood was also responding to the scene to "prevent any possible impacts to the reservoir at Bear Creek Lake Park."

The official also told Denver7 the integrity of the asphalt where the crash occurred seems fine and it doesn’t appear they need to mill and repave as they’ve had to do with spills in the past.

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The I-70 closure impacted a stretch of the interstate between Morrison and Genesee from exit 254 to mile point 259. Officials warned that the interstate closure would likely impact drivers on their evening commute.

The interstate was fully reopened around 5:43 p.m. Thursday.

Luber added that Highway 40 is also impacted near the crash site.

"Traffic that was trapped behind the eastbound I-70 closure point has been turned around and is going back up to the Lookout Mountain Exit and then onto Highway 40," he explained.

May 16 2024 I-70 fiery crash near Morrison

For motorists on the westbound I-70 side, Luber said traffic is being diverted at the exit near the Dinosaur Park-n-Ride at exit 259.

"The best thing to do, if you have to go up I-70 — you can go on either Highway 285 through Evergreen and you can come back on Evergreen Parkway back to I-70," said Luber. "You could also take Highway 6 up Clear Creek Canyon."

Be advised that you could potentially encounter some traffic woes if traveling through Lookout Mountain. The area was experiencing some traffic woes after a semi was spotted having some issues navigating a curve at Lookout Mountain at around 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

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CSP said semi restrictions were in place on Highway 6, Highway 8 and Colorado 74. The best alternate for those drivers is US 285 to Highway 9.

Video from AirTracker 7 showed the damaged tanker and burned vehicle just behind the semi-truck.

"We have some damage to I-70, so they're going to have to check the integrity of the roadway surface," Luber added. "Typically in these kinds of fire situations, the fire burns very hot and it can damage road surfaces."

The investigation into the crash is expected to continue throughout the day. Luber said both eastbound and westbound lanes could be closed until late Thursday evening.

"This is going to be a devastating investigation that is going to take some time, unfortunately. I've seen a lot of crashes in my time and this is one of the worst ones," Luber said.

May 16 2024 I-70 fiery crash near Morrison

AirTracker 7 is flying over the scene. Click the video player below to watch the feed.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

1 killed in crash, tanker fire on I-70 west of Denver; parts of I-70 closed

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