Driver of van dies after hitting semitrailer, tree

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities say the driver of a van is dead after striking the back of a flatbed semitrailer in Phoenix and crashing into a tree.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves says the accident happened around 5:30 Monday evening as the driver of the van exited Interstate 10 at 67th Avenue.

Graves says authorities believe that the driver of the van was distracted when he hit the semitrailer without attempting to brake. Graves says the force of the impact lifted up the back of the flatbed trailer and sent the driver of the van crashing into a tree in an embankment.

Graves says the driver of the semitrailer was shaken up but otherwise OK.

The identity of the deceased man hasn't been released.

Police believe speed was a factor in the crash.