MALVERN, Ark — Arkansas Department of Transportation crews took over 24 hours to clear all lanes along I-30 westbound after a fiery, fatal, multi-vehicle crash happened on Wednesday.
There were 20 vehicles involved in the accident, which also included eight semi trucks. The accident happened near mile marker 86 along I-30 westbound and it resulted in three fatalities. Traffic was backed up for hours and was at a standstill until shortly after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.
"Looking at that road, we had to get all of the damaged trucks off the interstate. The final damaged truck was removed sometime around 7 or 8 this morning," said Dave Parker with ARDOT.
Parker said that the crash started as a two car accident, but in the aftermath of that incident having backed up traffic, a second crash involving semi-trucks came around 15 to 20 minutes later. And the second accident caused a large fire to erupt.
"The pavement, it literally melted and buckled. So, to reopen it safely we've got to get in there," said Parker.
While some crews worked to repave the asphalt, others passed out water and supplies to people who were in standstill traffic. Some drivers had to wait up to four hours before it was safe for them to leave.
This year there has been a total of eight people that have been killed in a 25 mile stretch of I-30 that spans between Hot Spring and Clark counties.
At the end of April, a truck driver was killed while he traveled Westbound on I-30 during the night, when he drove off the road and struck a tree.
Just a day before the last incident happened, one man was killed and another injured from a rear-end accident.
Back in March, two male truck drivers were killed when one traveling east on I-30 drove across the median into oncoming west bound traffic and struck the other.
In January, one man was killed when he was traveling westbound on I-30 near mile marker 67, and another vehicle stopped ahead of him. The vehicle then struck the rear of his trailer.
In all four of these incidents -- the weather was clear. Parker said that weather played a major part in Wednesday's accident.
Jennifer Crawford and her husband, both truck drivers from Malvern, said that they have seen accidents such as that one, happen all too often.
"People don't take that into consideration especially when we have asphalted roads. When it rains, that oil comes up. They get slick," said Crawford.
Arkansas State Police identified one of the victims that lost their lives in the crash as 65-year-old George Thomas Adamson III. He was in his Dodge pickup with his dog when he had to swerve out of the lanes to avoid the accident ahead of him and hit a tree.
"It was very disheartening to see. Very. Cause I mean that's our livelihood. It's horrible," said Crawford.
With three lives that have now been lost, that has left people thinking that being on those roads can be a scary thing.