Driver Dies When Big Rig, Car Burst Into Flames

By Dan Stamm and David Chang
|  Monday, Jan 13, 2014  |  Updated 10:03 PM EDT
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A serious fiery crash has left one person dead on I-78. Officials are seeking to identify the victim.

NBC10 - Deanna Durante

A serious fiery crash has left one person dead on I-78. Officials are seeking to identify the victim.

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Westbound lanes on I-78 reopened hours after a fiery crash sent smoke billowing into the air, leaving at least one person dead and at least two hurt.

Investigators say a car or SUV stopped in lane 4 of a tollbooth in the westbound lanes of I--78 near Morgan Hill Road in Williams Township, Pa. Suddenly, a ShopRite tractor-trailer crashed into the vehicle, according to officials. Parts of the wreckage slammed into the toll booth before coming to a stop several lanes over against an embankment.

Witnesses claimed they saw the tractor trailer swerving and moving quickly before the crash. Police have not confirmed this however.

The crash caused a fire to break out.

"It's a terrible sight," said Pennsylvania State Trooper Marc Allen. "We have at least one fatality."

The car driver died, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The tractor-trailer driver got out and was transported to a local hospital, according to ShopRite.

A tollbooth worker was also injured when that worker run towards the fiery crash with a fire extinguisher.

Police diverted westbound traffic and closed the tollbooths as firefighters battled the blaze. According to police, the fire was put out within an hour. But, the blaze continued to smolder for some time.

The backup spread all the way back to New Jersey where police diverted cars off the highway.

Traffic got by in the eastbound direction.

Late Monday afternoon, two lanes on I-78 westbound reopened. The four remaining lanes reopened around 6:30 p.m.

State Police are looking at surveillance video from the tolls to try and figure out the cause of the crash.

ShopRite released a brief statement that in parts read: "...Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the families of all involved in this terrible accident."

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