A portion of Interstate 10 was closed for hours yesterday as Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers investigated a multi-vehicle, fatal crossover crash near Picacho.
The fatal crash involved two semi trucks and other vehicles and closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 10 near Marana, causing a 10-mile backup and lengthy delays for motorists traveling toward Phoenix, officials said.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and DPS kept motorists advised of the road closure on social media throughout the day.
Motorists were detoured to frontage roads toward Red Rock along I-10, leading to the 10-mile backup.
The fatal collision was complicated, involving several vehicles. DPS said a semi truck hauling a load of produce eastbound on I-10 collided with an SUV being towed by a pickup. The SUV disconnected from the pickup and rolled over, and the pickup veered off road and rolled over.
The semi-truck crossed the median, colliding with another semi truck traveling westbound on I-10. The first truck’s trailer landed on the cab of the westbound semi truck, killing the westbound truck’s driver.
The driver of the first commercial vehicle was transported to a hospital with injuries. The driver of the pickup pulling the SUV was uninjured.
I-10 in Arizona, specifically between Tucson and Phoenix, has been nationally ranked as one of the most dangerous highways in the country. One of the most dangerous and often fatal types of collision is a crossover crash, where one vehicle leaves the road, crossing over the median and into opposing lanes of traffic.
Crossover crashes almost always cause fatalities or catastrophic injuries, due to speed and the force of impact. Many stretches of I-10 do not have median barriers in place to prevent vehicles from crossing the median. Median barriers are proven to prevent crossover crashes, 95% of the time.
I-10 is a very dangerous highway. ADOT has placed warnings signs (above) to let drivers know they will not be protected by a median barrier in the event of an accident. The fatal crash happened at milepost 224, in one of the stretches of road where the warning signs are placed. The signs did nothing to prevent the crossover crash.