Fiery crash kills 1, injures another when driver goes wrong way

Fiery crash kills 1, injures another when driver goes wrong way on I-40

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A large fire and several explosions resulted from the crash. (source: Knoxville Fire Department) A large fire and several explosions resulted from the crash. (source: Knoxville Fire Department)
Crews found an 18-wheeler truck owned by Averitt Express and a pickup truck on fire. Crews found an 18-wheeler truck owned by Averitt Express and a pickup truck on fire.
I-40 westbound from Interstate 640 to Hall of Fame was blocked. I-40 westbound from Interstate 640 to Hall of Fame was blocked.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A fiery crash on Interstate 40 involving a tractor-trailer and a pickup truck killed one person Friday morning and sent another to the hospital.

The wreck happened around 2 a.m. on I-40 westbound just west of Cherry Street.

Authorities say the driver of the pickup truck was going the wrong way on the interstate. They say the driver of the tractor-trailer truck, Scott Beaman, 41, attempted to swerve out of the way, but the vehicles hit head-on.

A large fire and several explosions resulted from the crash. It took crews over two hours to get the fire under control.

"Since there's no hydrants on the interstate we have to shuttle water so we were doing that via our tankers," said Capt. DJ Corcoran of the Knoxville Fire Department.

The Knoxville Fire Department said both the  18-wheeler truck, which is owned by Averitt Express, and the pickup truck were on fire when crews arrived.

"Our first concern when we roll up on a scene like that is for the patient," said Corcoran. "Hopefully they've gotten out or they're salvageable."   

The driver of the pickup died at the scene. His identity is not being released as police are awaiting dental records to confirm it.

Police said they believe he is a male in his twenties and a Knoxville resident based on their unconfirmed information.

Beaman was taken to Physician's Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and released later in the day.

A spokesman for Averitt Express said Beaman has been with the company since 1994 and has earned safe driving certificates for 17 consecutive years.

Beaman lives in Roanoke and left his home at 10 p.m. Thursday, heading for Knoxville. He was on his way back to Roanoke when the accident occurred.

I-40 westbound from Interstate 640 to Hall of Fame was closed to traffic for about eight hours.

Averitt Express officials say nothing toxic was being hauled by the truck.

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